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Is your business prepared to scale?

World Map With WomanPart I: Setting up your internal team to scale successfully

Success often strikes when you least expect it, and when it does, will you be ready?

This blog series will help you determine whether your business is ready to handle the challenges of an increase in production volume—and help you be prepared to scale when the market demands.

Part I will focus on preparing your internal processes for scaling, and Part II will address how to prepare your supply chain for growth.

Do you have a scalable master parts list and product BOM?

When you need to scale, time is of the essence. Because of this, using a centralized, revision-controlled system like Arena Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to manage your product records will give all relevant departments a common reference point for part information—and save you time and money. And when you’re in control of your BOM, you can push changes easier and increase production with fewer notifications and chances for miscommunications.

How can I clean up my master parts list?

  1. Remove duplicate part numbers. Find and fix any instances where a single component is associated with more than one part number or vice versa. Not doing so may lead to incorrect purchases, scrap, and cost overruns.
  2. Reduce the visibility of inactive parts. If your system has parts that no longer need anyone’s attention, you should hide, mark, or remove them from your list in order to make your active parts more manageable.
  3. Gather part documentation in a central location. Collect your documents in a controlled location so the appropriate people always have access.

How risky are your product components?

Do you know which parts in your product BOM are most likely to be in short supply? And are you taking steps to reduce the risk of single-sourced or rare components?

While it may not be realistic to find secondary sources and substitutions for every part in your product, you can be aware of which parts pose the greatest risk to scaling and proactively seek out solutions. If you’re working with parts that are expensive, have long lead times and/or single sources, you should monitor those parts carefully all the way from ordering through use. And if you find yourself in a pinch, keep in mind that you may be able to rework scrap to recover those tricky-to-find parts.

How much do you know about how your products are made?

If you haven’t run into production problems yet, it is for one of two reasons. Either your manufacturing processes are correctly set up and in place, or you’ve been lucky. A quick look at your assembly process, the documentation around it, and your results off the line will indicate which is the case for your business.

If you know how you build today, you can better prepare for scaling tomorrow. The first thing to look at is whether your manufacturing and quality processes—and those of your suppliers—are well documented (more on scaling with a CM in Part II). Secondly, take a look at how you build, particularly, how well you build. Do you have a large scrap pile that could be repurposed, or eliminated altogether? This can save your business significant dollars.

Can you answer the ‘what if’ scenarios of scaling?

The last important question to consider as your prepare for scaling is whether your company can handle the impact. The best way to do this is to run through some ’what if’ scenarios.

What would you change if you had to triple production on your largest volume product? Would you increase the number of days a month that you build? Or add another shift or line? Or even take resources from another product? Or leave the entire decision up to your CM?

Be ready for your golden opportunity

Most likely, your business is more prepared to scale in some areas than in others. But no matter where you’re at right now, you can always bolster your current competitive edge by preparing for unexpected market opportunities.

While BOM and change management tools enable you to track changes and share your product data (and are essential for companies who want to scale their business) for those who are just starting out, Arena BOMControl offers two exciting new tools to make the process all the easier.

Arena PartsList is our new cloud application that helps you prototype faster by making it easy to document, organize, and share BOMs. And Arena PDXViewer lets you quickly share PDX build packages with anyone who needs them.

Here’s the bottom line. You need to use the right tools for the job no matter where you are in your organization and product lifecycle to help you scale successfully. Read Part II of this series.