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By Jim Knapp

1-e1456154820249-278x300.pngThis is what a car manufacturer does:

  1. Design a car
  2. Specify parts needed
  3. Make arrangements to get parts supplied
  4. Make arrangements to have the correct tools, location, and personnel to build the car
  5. Assemble components in a predetermined order following the specifications of the design
  6. Take necessary steps to monitor and control quality during manufacture

Sound familiar? If you install equipment in your business, from service panels to bathrooms to air conditioners, you follow these steps in some fashion. Not only are you a manufacturer, but you are doing the most difficult type of manufacturing. It’s called Job Shop manufacturing. Each order has to be designed, setup, and manufactured differently. No assembly line for you! Each job is different and has unique attributes; therefore, manufacturing time and quality can be adversely affected. How well you follow the steps of manufacturing can have a huge impact on your bottom line and neglecting any step of the process can cause:

  • Lost time
  • Lost profit
  • Dissatisfied customers
  • Poorly performing systems
  • Extra warranty call-backs

Let’s rewrite the 6 steps of manufacturing to better serve the Trades:

  1. The sales consultation is much more than just selling. The project should be designed to meet the needs of the specific job and perform as promised.
  2. The sales consultation is also the opportunity to gather the necessary information to provide the materials and equipment needed to complete the task (let’s avoid all that running around for parts during the install).
  3. Find and purchase the necessary parts and equipment.
  4. Make arrangements to have the customer ready for the installation, have the correct technicians for the job, and the right tools to do a quality assembly.
  5. Assemble system using best practices (sometimes the fast way isn’t the cheap way)
  6. Since you don’t have a controlled environment to carefully assemble things, quality assurance is often the weakest link in the process. But if the new installation is thoroughly tested at completion, if the company culture is focused on quality and if the customer is educated about their new installation you can avoid this pitfall.

You should be proud that, in conditions that most would balk at, you can manufacture a quality system.

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