Competitive Manufacturing: A Delicate Balancing Act

Today’s business environment is unique and highly competitive. As manufacturing comes back in a big way, and American manufacturing, specifically, is reaching new heights, companies must find the right balance to stay ahead.

Take, for example, the role of a senior manager in a medium-sized manufacturing company. This person must wear many hats. After all, most companies don’t have the full amount of personnel—especially in these times of fewer skilled workers—to have someone handle short-term strategies and another to handle long-term.

The senior manager, therefore, has multiple responsibilities, and must juggle them all well, focusing on both the short and long term. He or she must also be able to switch these multiple hats many times throughout the course of a day. This is especially true when the company focuses on lean operation.

A major factor is to isolate each customer and his or her industry, looking at them all as individuals and focusing on their specific needs. For auto industry customers, for instance, parts are typically shipped out a year or two after the initial quote, and the prices of raw materials and gas can change in this time period. This needs to be taken into account and monitored closely along the way. For other industry clients, the factors will differ and should always be considered.

In this way, the senior manager is responsible for being involved on many levels, while balancing so many tasks: new business growth, sales input trackables, industry forecasts, company projects, and, of course, each customer and industry.

By achieving this delicate balance, the short and long term will correlate, and a lean operation will stay lean but effective. A good business—with a very good senior manager—can make this all work. At Universal Polymer & Rubber, we’re proud of every member of our hardworking, dedicated staff, including our senior management, and believe we effectively achieve all our goals while putting our customers first.