Your business needs
Most organisations only focus on plant capacity when the external demand is close to or exceeds our supply capability. Hopefully the lead time to install and start-up additional capacity is short because the window of opportunity is small; customers don’t hang around once they sense that the supply is short/constricted – they start to look for other sources of supply.
Most facilities operate at a fraction of the asset utilization to which they are entitled (if the process worked as it was designed). In many cases capital investment in new equipment is justified not because the process entitlement has been reached but because the status quo has effectively been defined as the practical maximum. This is true for almost all industrial plants.
Now what could you do with this untapped capacity that could be freed up? Ideally sell more. Great– but not always possible. But then the extra capacity could be used to lower inventory; it could reduce customer lead times and, if all else fails, it could reduce costs! And if this hidden capacity does not require any investment, then why not release it immediately? Increasing asset utilization can always make money for the company. It should be job#1 for every manufacturing team. If your manufacturing team spends most of its time troubleshooting and fighting fires, then they have not been working on free capacity creation. If this reflects your reality read on…