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Today’s manufacturing organizations face a variety of technological, geographical, and strategic complexities, the likes of which have never been seen before. And if you've ever spoken to any moden manufacturing executives, you know that they face a correspondingly complex breadth of challenges. With these hurdles standing in the way of their operational excellence journeys, it's important to know which areas business leaders are giving focus. Specifically, what are the top strategic manufacturing objectives for executives in 2013?
Not more than two months ago, LNS launched the 2013-2014 Manufacturing Operations Management Research Library and survey. The survey, which fuels LNS's social research model, has been taken by a wide range of manufacturing leaders. It asks questions around technology adoption, business processes, manufacturing culture and strategy, and more. In the coming months, the data will act as the foundation for research reports, and answer some of the industry's most pressing questions such as the one above.
Although we're still eagerly collecting manufacturing operations data, we couldn't help ourselves from taking a sneak peak at the results. In this post, we'll look at some of the survey's early findings and dive into which manufacturing objectives are surfacing as top-of-mind issues for 2013.
Looking into the Top Strategic Manufacturing Objectives
We begin the survey by asking respondents about their top strategic objectives. For this question in particular, there were a number of potential selections, but respondents were instructed to choose three, prioritizing them as #1, #2, and #3.
The bar chart below illustrates only the objectives that were deemed as their #1 priority. As shown, the most important objective has been responsiveness to customer order demands, followed by ensuring consistent product quality, and getting new products to market faster. These responses clearly show that manufacturers are laser focused on meeting customer expectations in order to ensure their own competitiveness.
What's interesting, however, is that different top objectives emerge when we analyze this dataset from another angle. By taking the aggregate of all responses—that is, summing up all responses of #1, #2, or #3 priority—we can pick out the top three most selected strategic objectives. In contrast to the graph shown above, this aggregated data point shows the top response as achieving increased production capacity and capabilities.
Since this capability is still an end customer-focused objective, it’s positive to see it as a top response. However, we begin to see some of the realities of internal manufacturing business challenges creep into the picture, as the second most popular response is to achieve tighter alignment between business and manufacturing goals, a topic we’ve been seeing in the industry and writing about. Perhaps not surprisingly, a number of the available manufacturing software solutions in the MOM space are now addressing this challenge.
It's important to look at both of these data points. Since every manufacturing operation has to focus on more than one strategic dimension of operational excellence, the aggregate view is indicative of the balancing act that is taking place. At the same time, it's interesting to see what the very top priorities are that have bubbled up as #1 for manufacturing organizations, as shown in the first chart.
LNS's Future Manufacturing Operations Research
The social research model draws data directly from respondents’ participation in our comprehensive surveys. In exchange for creating an account and taking the MOM survey, respondents receive membership to the ever-growing MOM Research Library for exactly one year. This model drives a large exchange of survey responses that serve as part of the foundation for future 2013-2014 MOM research papers that will be added to the library.
In future posts, we’ll be covering more about the correlation between manufacturing objectives and the solutions that address them. We currently have an in-depth report on aligning business and manufacturing goals available in our Research Library. Click below to participate in our social research model, gaining access this report as well as other valuable, best practices information on the rapidly evolving MOM space.