The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a not-for-profit industry research and educational association, recently reported that as of February 2013 U.S. manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest monthly rate since June 2011. While several factors have contributed to this growth, the uptick largely has been attributed to the strengthening of the US housing market and increases in consumer confidence and spending – both of which have bolstered demand for a variety of goods. While this news is a welcome sign for small and midsize manufacturers, many will struggle to keep pace with this increase in demand, and that will result in disgruntled customers and the loss of potential profits.
In order to prepare for increased customer-driven demand, many small and midsize manufacturers are planning to increase capital spending and hiring in the coming year. But to maximize the benefits of staffing and investment growth decisions – and to ensure that operations can support spikes in demand as quickly as possible – CFOs and other financial executives should first consider implementing a comprehensive cycle-time reduction program. Read More