According to a recent report from MBIE, manufacturing makes up 12% of New Zealand’s economy, employs more than 240,000 people and accounts for 50% of total exports. It’s key to our economic future.

It’s also challenging. In the report above the Minister of Economic Development David Parker says, ‘’It is not generally possible for New Zealand manufacturers to compete on price with the industrial powerhouses of the world, which have advantages of scale and proximity to key markets. New Zealand firms therefore compete through the high quality and reliability of their products, the innovation and creativity in their design, the excellence of their service offering and the intelligent targeting of valuable niche markets.’’

What does that mean on a practical level for Kiwi companies involved in manufacturing? It means finding the smartest ways to be more productive in the way we manufacture products.

The concept of manufacturing productivity is about efficiently producing different products and components, utilising technology and innovation. This involves looking at what has been produced in the past, and gaining efficiencies via innovation to reduce the time and cost in future production.

Making things cheaper is not always the focus, although lowering costs is always a desirable goal. ENI's focus on manufacturing productivity is about using their innovative ideas and technologies to make it better - and of course, to make it big.

Improving manufacturing productivity is summarised as ‘lean manufacturing’. This is about driving cost out of the manufacturing process in order to create further innovation. This is achieved by reducing waste, which can be done in many ways.

At ENI, lean manufacturing means we look for ways to add value to our customer. The idea is to reduce waste as much as possible; for example a sheet of steel is 1.5m by 2.4m. Our customer will be paying for the whole sheet, so our challenge is to maximise as much of it as possible when manufacturing their product.

Reducing the waste of materials is one thing; when it comes to lean manufacturing and its impact on manufacturing productivity, it's about saving time as well. If something can be produced faster, using innovation and technology, the time savings are just as valuable as materials.

Contract manufacturing is a way of you achieving productivity by outsourcing the whole function. Utilising the resources that are required across multiple demands, multiple customers and multiple products means applying the concept of lean manufacturing - making the most of the innovation ENI generates - to make sure we're always improving our manufacturing productivity. This means utilising not only technology, but getting the most out of our capital equipment and machinery.

For instance, an ENI customer who manufactures a product in the food service industry contracts us to manufacture their metalwork components. If they were to manufacture the components themselves, they would be looking at a significant capital outlay in order to produce them to the accuracy and of the variety that they require. But because they outsource that particular part of the manufacturing process, they get the benefit of ENI's equipment. It's machinery that's used for over a dozen other customers, so we're able to maximise the use of that equipment while reducing the costs for those customers.

Any manufacturing business that is serious about improving their manufacturing productivity should seriously utilise the expertise and experience of contract manufacturers with a diverse skill base, that's been gained across a wide range of industries. ENI's technology, innovative thinking, experience and equipment are all resources that can be used to improve manufacturing productivity. Our reputation is built on a breadth of services and capabilities, and a deep industry experience.

If you'd like to learn more about how ENI can help your business improve its manufacturing productivity, as well as our innovative ability across a range of products, download our recent eBook, How contract manufacturing can help you make it big.

ENI Contract Manufacturing