The manufacturing industry is one of the few industries that can make the boastful argument of being the backbone of America’s economy. The race to be the best manufacturer is a tight one, and the best brands are separated by only a few fine differences in their infrastructures and operations. Optimal efficiency is the key to building a successful manufacturing company, but every manufacturer would run like a well-oiled machine if it were easy to achieve.

Optimizing your company’s infrastructure and operations requires a combination of top-level technology, team members who buy into the company’s core beliefs, and analysis of your processes to find actionable data. Nowadays, companies can modify their strategies and respond to problems in their systems in real-time or even ahead of time. Continue reading to get some tips to help you improve your manufacturing company’s efficiency and increase your revenue.

Your staff is only as effective as their equipment.

An exceptional artist may be able to create a masterpiece with subpar utensils, but that principle has no legs to stand on in manufacturing. Your machines are one of the most key factors in the quality of your products. If the machines your workers use are defective, then your products will be too.

Not only is malfunctioning equipment bad for your products, but it also makes conditions unsafe for your employees. When your machines aren’t working properly, your team members are at greater risk of suffering burns, electric shock, falls, cuts, and other severe injuries.

Furthermore, you’d better believe that your competitors are installing the latest and best tech in their facilities as if it were a manufacturing cold war. Whenever you upgrade your machinery, you should be willing to spend top-dollar to get the best equipment.

If you’re in the oil and gas industry, then making the switch to a multiphase pump could be the most lucrative move you make this decade. These pumps dramatically decrease the need for various surface equipment, which cuts costs and is better for the environment. This is an upgrade that will increase your bottom line, help the environment, make work safer for your employees, and improve your image with environmentally conscious potential customers.

Incorporate data to optimize your production, marketing, and distribution strategies.

Welcome to the age of Industry 4.0, where every manufacturer is using data analytics to get valuable insights into their markets, their own production, and the best suppliers. The chances are that your company already uses data analytics, but to what degree? Unleashing the full power of metrics to fine-tune your company’s strategy and infrastructure can help you keep up and surpass your competition.

One of the most powerful ways to use data analysis is with objectives and key results (OKR) software. With this powerful enterprise-level software program, you get a microscopic view of your company’s productivity and how it’s affecting your revenue. Once you see where your business can optimize its operations, you implement objectives for improvement and strategies to hit your targets. The OKR software tracks your key results and yields them in the form of actionable data.

You don’t have to be an OKR savant to use the software, although it wouldn’t hurt. Fortunately, WorkBoard offers OKR coach training to help your team members learn to use and integrate the software into your company’s operations. You can also tune into the WorkBoard OKR Podcast to get tips to help you keep your team in-sync and moving towards company objectives.

You may even decide to take the OKR coach training yourself to get a layman’s understanding of data analytics. With the growth prospects for data analysis consulting businesses, there’s no telling what kind of startup ideas you may come up with after your classes.

Decrease downtime as much as possible.

It’s frustrating when you have to shut down operations for maintenance. You have to pay your employees for not working in many instances, not to mention your team members don’t appreciate being driven like sleigh dogs to increase their production before shutdowns.

One way to eliminate downtime is to set up a backup manufacturing facility in a separate location for your lighter-duty processes. Instead of trashing old equipment that still works, when you replace it, you can lock it away in your Las Vegas storage facilities until you need it. Before a shutdown, you can move your machines to your temporary facility and continue some of your lighter operations.

Be gracious to your employees.

If not for your employees, there would be no production goals met. If you want your operation to run efficiently, you must deal graciously with your team members. Notice the operative word is graciously and not fairly. The Fair Labor Association will make sure that you treat your employees with fairness. But, if the Fair Labor Association is on your case, that means you’re not even doing the bare minimum to protect your employees’ interests.

Of all the ways industry has changed over the decades, the largest shift may well be how employees expect to be treated by their employers. You don’t have to turn your manufacturing plant into a self-care facility. Still, it would help if you took steps to adapt your workplace culture to encourage healthy-living, team building, mental health awareness, and financial literacy. It would help if you also threw in production incentives for the great work your personnel does.

The best way to get more out of your employees is to show and reward them for what they’ve already done. Looking after your employees’ happiness and best interests aren’t about making your company a leisure club—it’s an investment.

Take a look at your clients.

As counterintuitive as this may seem, not all customers are good customers. If you want your company to run more efficiently, you should audit your clients’ list and see which ones best suit your company’s business model.

Maybe you have a client who uses materials that causes your company to have to stray too far from its strengths. If the profit you make from that arrangement isn’t proportionate to the shapeshifting your company has to do to meet the demand, you should drop that client. After you clean-house, you can start seeking more clients whose needs are in your wheelhouse.