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5 Manufacturing Challenges Revealed After 1000 Conversations with CEOs

For 25 years in a consulting and managerial role, Michel Babineau has had the opportunity to meet hundreds of owners, CEOs, and presidents of manufacturing companies. He's listened to their concerns, challenges and hopes...  

These 5 challenges are common across multiple industries: 

  • Customer demand is unpredictable
  • It is difficult to find and retain qualified labor
  • Organizations and their people have consistently struggled to understand and adopt technology
  • New products take too much time to develop
  • The lead time of critical capital equipment is too long


  1. Customer Intimacy
  2. Measuring Sticks for Qualified Labor
  3. Digital Transformation
  4. Critical Chain Project Management
  5. Increase Capacity before Making a Large Purchase

Customer Intimacy

The best way to deal with forecast accuracy? Customer intimacy. Manufacturing companies, especially complex, vertically integrated ones, have to develop an intimate relationship with their customers. Which ones? Focus first on your most important customers with whom you spend most of your time, about whom you worry the most.

Measuring Sticks for Qualified Labor

It's difficult to find qualified labor. We outline some criteria and observations that may provide helpful guidance to defining and recognizing highly qualified labor. Like any resource, the lack of good people in your company and in the marketplace can be a serious constraint to growth.

Digital Transformation

Organizations and their people have consistently struggled to understand and adopt technology. But digital transformation in manufacturing is here. The smartest mid-sized manufacturing companies understand that the world is moving too quickly for them to develop planning software and “thoughtware” specialists inside of their company.

Critical Chain Project Management

CCPM can complete projects at a rate of 10% to 50% faster and/or cheaper than the traditional methods. On-Time Edge believes that by using the Critical Chain Method, projects can be completed more quickly and with greater scheduling clarity.

Increase Capacity before Making a Large Purchase

Given the risks involved, here are some creative ways to increase capacity and to eliminate the bottlenecks in your production process. Consider these flexible alternate solutions, if you haven’t already: 

  • Maximizing the shifts during which current equipment is used

  • Minimizing setups which leads to workflow optimization 

  • Cross-training employees on specialized equipment to man a second shift or a third shift 

  • Exploiting advanced planning scheduling tools that On-Time Edge promotes and implements

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