What To Do When Your Customers Aren’t Happy With Your Turnaround Time
Your shop isn’t using shop scheduling software. And so it has happened again. You missed a customer’s deadline. And to compound problems, you have more jobs in the production queue that are already behind schedule. You can tell from conversations with your customers that their patience is wearing thin, and you’re worried that they’ll start looking for a different vendor.
Something has to change, but what? You could hire more staff, but that takes time and it also eats into your margins. You could buy more machines or add facility space, but again, that requires capital and time. You need something that can be implemented quickly and that protects your profitability.
The good news is there are many steps you can take to get your scheduling challenges under control. Some simple changes to your processes and communication could make a big impact. Also, investments in tools like mobile devices on the shop floor and even shop scheduling software could eliminate your biggest issues.
Below are three tips to help you get your production schedule under control and improve your relationships with your customers. Consider implementing these actions today.
Gain transparency into your schedule and your quoting with Shop Scheduling Software.
Often, shop owners look at missed deadlines as the core problem. The missed deadline usually isn’t the problem. Rather, it’s a symptom of a larger problem. However, it’s tough to see what that problem is if you don’t have transparency into your processes.
You might consider implementing shop scheduling software to gain that much-needed transparency. With shop scheduling software you can gather data on your production process and drill deep into your shop’s functions. For example, you can view production times by part, employee, work station, shift, and more. You can then identify the steps in the process that are causing problems.
Shoptech’s E2 shop scheduling software comes with a scheduling dashboard and a what-if simulator. Those tools allow you make changes to the schedule on the fly and even plug in variables like a machine breakdown or a last minute order. You can then project bottlenecks and delays and take action in before the issue arises.
Shop Software also gives you transparency into your quoting, which can also impact scheduling. You may be missing deadlines because you’ve taken on more work than you can handle. And you may have taken on too much work because you’re not quoting a high enough price for your jobs.
Shop software helps you quickly view all the resources that go into each job, from materials to labor to overhead and more. You can then calculate the precise cost for each job and calculate a price that covers your costs and protects your margins. By charging more and boosting your margins, you may be able to take on less work and meet customer deadlines.
See how Calframax Technologies has used E2’s scheduling module to improve scheduling efficiency.
Distribute power to your team.
It may be that you don’t necessarily have a production bottleneck, but rather a decision-making bottleneck. Does your production management run through one person? Perhaps a floor supervisor? Or maybe you?
You may find that your shop will operate more smoothly if you decentralize the decision-making and give your team members the power to make production decisions. If a team member notices a potential bottleneck or delay, they can take action. They can order needed materials or reroute a specific job, and they can do it on-the-spot without waiting for your decision.
One way to do this is by putting tablets and other wi-fi mobile devices at each work station. You then connect those devices to your shop software so team members can view job information in real time. They can even scan barcodes on job travellers to update job information. Each person in the shop can then see the entire production process and make changes as needed.
Improve communication with your customers.
Once you improve your internal processes, the final step is to repair any damage done to your relationship with your customers. If you have missed repeated deadlines, you may have lost some of their trust.
The good news is you can use your improved process to provide them with more accurate delivery estimates and better set their expectations. For example, since you have transparency into your costs and your potential timeline, you should be able to confidently tell them whether or not you can hit a certain deadline or whether you can take on a rush job.
You can also use the transparency provided by your shop software to regularly update your customers on the status of their jobs. You can hold regular check-in calls or send out status emails with real-time information on where their jobs are in the process, when they will be shipped, and when they should expect them.
You may notice there’s a common theme in all of these steps – shop software. Scheduling issues are more often an information issue than a resource issue. With more information, you can use your resources more efficiently to meet tight deadlines.
Ready to get your schedule under control? Let’s talk about it. Contact us to learn more about how E2 can help you meet every deadline for every order. Our scheduling consultants welcome the opportunity to learn more about your goals and challenges.