Intelligent Manufacturing – Part 2: Manu-Services–Something New or Something You’ve Always Known?

We’ve taken a hard look at every aspect of manufacturing, including the items that are part and parcel of modern manufacturing and how those services have changed. The new label, Manu-services, however is something with which many of us are not familiar. It’s a mysterious new concept, but it really shouldn’t be.

In reality, Manu-Services is one of those new buzz words that is applied to something ages old in order to make it all seem new and much more mystery-filled than it was.

What are Manu-services? Is this all something new that you’re going to have to study and work at to apply it to your company? The answer to that is “not at all.” You’ve probably been offering Manu-Services since time out of time if you were a smaller and more budget conscious company.
Manu-Services is a new name for the services that the smaller business offered with products or services every day.
What are Manu-services? The answer is, anything that really combines the manufacturing process and the services that support it. Some Manu-Services involve the design and planning or even the project oversight in a given process.

Some of the Manu-Services might be after care, such as warranty considerations. Your version of Manu-Services might concern packaging or warranties or even proactive calling to ensure that your customers know how to use their products and are using them safely or effectively.
What makes the biggest impression, what is the most important aspect of the Manu-Services is not the services that you offer, but the way in which they will benefit those who are using your services and products–your customer.
In some cases, Manu-Services is nothing new at all. The nomenclature is changed. For other companies, Manu-Services is not only a new market, it’s a whole new model for the way in which they will do business.

Companies today don’t sell just goods. They sell entire packages. They provide the advertising, the interaction, the packaging, the aftercare and the interaction with their customers. They build a relationship with the customers and sometimes that relationship lasts generations.

Is Manu-Services something new and different or is it something that we’ve gotten away from and are migrating back to in a more modern and more diverse way?
Manu-Services seem to, at least according to the experts, have replaced manufacturing. In some cases, companies who began as larger groups very specialized and offering only a product and not the services that go along with it will find themselves having to implement an entirely new group of employees and to implement an entirely new and perhaps a very foreign business model. In this instance, smaller companies, who have done this all along, forced to do so by budget constraints, may, at least for a time, be playing on a more level field due to their experience and expertise in Manu-Services.
It’s a movement toward an older way of doing things as much as it is a movement forward in some cases. The small businesses at one time did their own marketing, their own selling and their own packaging. They also handled the disgruntled customer and they dealt with the causative agents of their distress. They had no choice, lacking the funding in many cases to do it any other way. It is for this reason that they may be less prone to the damages that the Manu-Services model can cause in larger companies.
The larger companies may have a much more difficult time switching to this type of a business model and in fact, finding the experienced personnel who can help them to accomplish the switch. This new set of issues may actually cause real issues in the economy as well as to the businesses.
The single biggest problem that exists with the Manu-Services model seems to be that those companies who are not accustomed to the business model and who are inexperienced in the Manu-Services aspects seem to be the companies which are most likely to end up going out of business. Oddly, these seem to be the larger companies, not the smaller ones.

Where government as a whole may be able to help and to make inroads into the changes is by offering supportive policies that will make it easier and more cost effective for larger companies–which are the most vulnerable in this instance– to make the changes necessary to move into a Manu-Services type of atmosphere in their own company.

James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com