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3 effective ways to maximise your manufacturing productivity

79% of Expleo’s UK and Ireland client projects in manufacturing aim to continuously enhance operational efficiency. 

Our clients include top organisations such as Airbus, Alstom, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Spirit AeroSystems and Stellantis. 

As a leading manufacturing engineering services provider in Europe, we have worked with hundreds of leading manufacturers in the aerospace, defence, automotive, railway, energy & healthcare industries, and have noticed that heads of manufacturing engineering/operations often face frustration with: 

Stay competitive in a high-cost context

As most products today reach the same technological maturity, the manufacturing cost and quality become an essential competitive advantage for a brand. The question is -how do I deliver more with less?

Prevent production shutdown

Supply chain instability and unplanned installation maintenance can cause heavy losses in productivity and customer confidence.

Overcome the labour shortage challenge

Skills shortages in Britain’s manufacturing sector are costing the UK £7 billion in lost economic output, and the sector is battling to fill 95,000 vacancies. Source: Evening Standard.

By analysing over 1,000 Expleo client engagements across multiple industries, we have identified the most common challenges facing the manufacturing sector today and the three questions managers should ask themselves to overcome operational roadblocks and save time, energy, and resources. 

1. How can I make decisions with information, not intuition?

Intuition and personal experience are no longer enough to stay competitive in the global manufacturing sector. With hundreds or thousands of workers, suppliers and processes, data becomes essential to support your decision-making (e.g., anticipate late deliveries and incorrect safety stock level). 

According to our experts in manufacturing engineering, to achieve maximum output you need to track various KPIs such as:

  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)  
  • Takt Time 
  • First Pass Yield (FPY) 

But we also understand that setting up an effective data reporting system and data-driven organisation is not always easy:

Without a grasp of databases and data management, the main challenge in creating a reliable and effective decision-making tool lies in the human aspect.  

Our data consultants with manufacturing engineering experience have supported several heads of engineering to establish and streamline their data reporting systems. 

dimitri bettebghor
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My experience of being super-efficient in any data analytics projects: Before rushing headlong into technical solutions, get all your stakeholders around the table to establish a consensus on a single source of truth: What KPIs? How do we calculate them? What are the data sources? What will be the level of trust?


2. What if my team can make it right the first time?

Now more than ever, production teams need to focus on the true cost of quality, in order to cut costs while exceeding their customers’ expectations.  

The cost of poor quality, also known as non-conformance costs, comprises of: 

  • Internal failures: Costs when defects are discovered before the product reaches the customer 
  • External failures: Costs when defects are discovered after the product is delivered to the customer 

Boeing once estimated the cost of reworking or scrapping parts at about $300 million or more per year. Source: Neutrons 

As the top partner to numerous European industrial firms in production quality assurance, our experts advocate: 

  1. Identifying critical points (persistent non-conformities) and high-risk areas (certain non-conformities have serious consequences) 
  2. Assigning significance to these non-conformities to uncover the root cause 
  3. Trusting the frontline to find the solution and implement action plans. 
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After achieving proficiency in corrective measures, we can implement preventive actions (e.g., a workstation with four to five people typically increases quality risks) and utilise AI tools like ChatGPT to assess the effectiveness of action plans on root causes.


3. What if I can keep my production team motivated and well?

A worker, who performs a task (e.g., assembling two parts of an automotive engine together with 20 screws) 300 times per day, faces significant risks of Musculoskeletal System Diseases (MSDs). 

With figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that more than 28 million working days were lost to musculoskeletal conditions in the UK in 2018.  
Source: British Safety Council 

It has never been more important for employers to safeguard the physical well-being of their employees and take proactive steps to ensure productivity levels are not affected.  

However, this can be challenging as many job roles involve physically demanding tasks, such as prolonged standing, repetitive activities, and operating heavy equipment. 

In order to allow your team members to focus on their core strengths, it is important to pinpoint any repetitive tasks that are slowing them down and determine if automation could be a viable solution. 

As a leading European engineering services partner in industrial automation and robotics, our experts have helped transform or create several factories in Europe and the rest of the world. 

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In today’s landscape, an unautomated factory will struggle to remain competitive, both in the business arena and in attracting top talent.  
And a key element to successful automation projects is the ability to develop standards that allow for cost-effective replication.



We are a global engineering, technology and consulting service provider powered by 17,000 highly skilled experts.

We benefit from more than 40 years of experience developing complex products, optimising manufacturing processes, and ensuring the quality of information systems for leading organisations, such as Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, NHS and Ofgem.