Regardless of product, industry or company, manufacturing comes with inherent risk.
There’s always the possibility of employees getting injured, orders surging from seasonal demands or well-established processes getting toppled because they can’t adapt. That’s why it’s essential to recognize those unique risks the industry poses and create a management protocol.
Risk management protocols will not just help you stay vigilant for ways to stay grounded during various disasters. It will help you stay one step ahead of competitors who need more preparation for obstacles or hindrances the industry presents.
Let’s review what you should factor into your risk management program:
Workforce and Labor Risks
According to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.6 million injuries and illnesses occurred in private industries in 2021, and it’s no question why. Your employees likely feel the weight of increased demands and quicker turnarounds, and the potential for dangerous accidents is higher than ever.
Your employees are your most important resource; keeping them safe is in everyone’s best interest. The laborious nature of working in manufacturing can quickly take a toll, and you must put measures into place to avoid employee burnout.
Employee burnout happens when team members are physically and mentally exhausted, leading to symptoms like lowered cognitive skills, a lack of motivation, sickness, depression or deadly accidents. Luckily, there are small yet effective changes you can make to reduce risks for your employees, including:
- Mandating consistent employee training on key topics.
- Updating storage with secure racking options.
- Ensuring employees have the right tools to do their job, like tech wearables and industrial manipulators.
- Providing proper employee protections, including hard hats, helmets and footwear
- Encouraging leaders to check in with their team members to create an open line of communication
- Providing team members with positive feedback to foster morale and motivation.
Supply Chain Issues
Due to ever-changing pandemic conditions, supply chains have faced several obstacles in the last few years. Organized, adaptable warehouses have helped mitigate inherent supply chain risks and have been a principal factor in keeping supply chains afloat during these difficult times.
Better risk management in supply chain manufacturing includes the following:
- Flexible Warehousing: Supply chains and warehouses that were prepared to adapt to changing circumstances were the ones that navigated the pandemic successfully. That means a significant pillar of supply chain risk management should prioritize staying agile with your practices and capabilities. This leads us to
- Technology Advancements: Your outdated practices and lack of helpful technology could hold you back against your competitors and leave you in a lurch when facing significant obstacles. You can get a better handle on your supply chain and warehousing process with tools like warehouse management systems which use automated technology to organize, ship or store inventory. They’re designed to boost productivity, lower risks and reduce “human” errors, like packaging mishaps or incorrect inventory measurements.
- Strong Storage Practices: Choosing the proper storage method can make or break your warehouse’s efficiency and level of productivity. Without proper plans for product storage, you could be left with low inventory, lost products and some perplexed employees. Plus, high-quality storage systems will lessen the likelihood of employees getting hurt by falling items.
- Cybersecurity: Risk management for manufacturers doesn’t end at potential dangers on the facility floor. As the manufacturing industry adopts more and more digital technology, it’s becoming crucial for warehouses to build disaster recovery plans.
Disaster recovery plans are a set of protocols in an IT emergency. This could include anything from a major data breach to weather-related incidents causing internet outages.
In today’s digitized world, prolonged online downtime can be a manufacturing company’s nightmare, especially as manufacturing has become the most targeted industry for cyber-attacks. And recent studies show that unplanned downtime costs manufacturers as much as $50 billion annually.
To avoid these devastating effects, it’s vital as a business owner that you prioritize disaster recovery as a part of your risk management plan.
Products that are mismanaged, defective or damaged can throw off your system, disappoint customers and hurt your bottom line. Avoiding product liabilities entirely isn’t likely, but there are several steps you can take to reduce the risks associated with your inventory:
- Standardize Your System: Start with standardizing your process across your facility. Digital solutions like warehouse management systems (WMS) and enterprise resource platforms (ERP) are designed to organize quality control activities, methods and processes. They can also automate and track other significant data points for your business, all in one place.
- Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing is a method that helps warehouses take advantage of opportunities for improvement and focus on value creation for customers. Its goal is to improve warehouse processes by maximizing value and minimizing waste. Excess inventory can quickly strain your staff, your storage systems and potentially even rent or insurance costs, and lean manufacturing helps reduce the likelihood and risks of this situation.
- Staying Clean and Organized: Products (and people!) are at risk if your facility isn’t well-kept. By not adhering to your warehouse’s organizational standards, your employees could be at risk for everything from trips and slips to falling products to exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Reduce The Risks
As we all saw in 2020, it’s impossible to predict every potential catastrophe that could affect the manufacturing industry. But the purpose of implementing risk management protocols is to have measures in place to surf those challenges successfully, as opposed to scrambling for solutions at the moment.
Risk management in manufacturing requires detailed planning and helpful tools to create a streamlined process. Industrial manipulators in your facility can help bolster your risk management efforts, as they can carefully and expertly handle your inventory, reduce the likelihood of employee injuries and speed up supply change production. Contact our team today if you’re ready to discuss how industrial manipulators can make a difference for your manufacturing business.