5 Reasons Guessing in Manufacturing Leads to Stress

According to experts, there are three types of guesses: wild guesses, educated guesses, and estimates. Wild guesses are, of course, backed by no data at all. Educated guesses rely on a history of experience and some conditional data. Estimates, on the other hand, are an entirely different type of guessing—and dangerous, at that.

Since your company relies on providing estimates every single day, it’s probably a good idea to understand the potential pitfalls in this method of guessing and to understand how your estimates are causing you unnecessary stress. Today’s article provides the facts, as well as a remedy that will help you turn those estimates into solid knowledge.

Learn more about reducing your manufacturing stress when you contact JobOps at sales@jobops.com.

Estimating: The Guessing We Didn’t Know We Were Doing

Many business owners are surprised to learn that estimating is a form of guessing. After all, estimating seems so much like a science that it can feel like it’s an objective activity with concrete results. However, psychologists understand that estimation is just as flawed as more risky guessing behaviors like making wild guesses—and that’s a problem when it comes to your business.

Most manufacturers have spent at least one late night at the plant working overtime with a crew in order to meet a production deadline and some manufacturers have recently spent multiple late nights at work trying to meet their deadlines. With the increasing time crunch in modern manufacturing, all those late nights are adding up. What they all add up to is the fact that small manufacturers are failing to estimate their capabilities correctly as their pace of work speeds up.

If those constant late nights sound familiar, there’s no reason to feel bad. According to neuroscientist and author, Dr. Gail Saltz, inaccurate estimates are entirely natural and may even be built into our biology. As she says, “The problem sometimes with guessing is that one can conjure up a memory that may not be accurate but may feel really accurate.” She goes on to explain that emotional ties to a certain outcome (such as finishing a large project on a tight deadline, so you can close a new long-term customer) can affect your memory as well, making certain data “pop out” that may not be accurate or relevant to the situation you’re trying to estimate.

Unfortunately, our reliance on guesswork in business has long-term effects, such as causing lasting stress. If you’re estimating for costs and timelines for your jobs or you’re estimating your schedule needs to handle large projects, your guesswork will probably leave you stressed because:

  1. Our Brains Aren’t Designed for the Consequences

Too much work on a short deadline can trigger our fight-or-flight response, which floods the body with cortisone (the stress chemical) and leaves us either “fighting” to work 80-hour weeks in order to master our workload, or “fleeing” the work by procrastinating and avoiding critical decisions until the last minute.

  1. Guessing Disrupts Our Craved Consistency

As humans, we crave consistency. Whether we’re talking about reliable payment schedules or predictable work schedules, we try to build habit and routine into our lives. However, estimating can send all our careful planning into a tailspin because inaccurate guesswork forces our schedule to match our needs, which breaks the patterns we’ve put in place.

  1. Money Matters Are Always Stressful

As we discussed earlier, your emotional state can influence your estimation accuracy. Even though no one wants to admit it, everything is emotional as a small business owner. Estimation helps you close more deals and negotiate pricing but, because your livelihood relies on overcoming the competition to land more clients, you’re likely to underestimate your timelines or overestimate your capabilities. This can leave you scrambling for cash later.

  1. Your Budget May Suffer

Speaking of cash, we all know that budgeting is almost entirely a guessing activity, but when your budgeting requires you to estimate your scheduling, job costing, inventory counts, and overtime needs in the long term, your budget guesses can land far off the mark. Wondering if you’ll have enough money left over to finish the year will leave anyone stressed.

  1. Guessing Can Land You in Hot Water

Guessing is a form of gambling and the fact that you probably get butterflies in your stomach when you have to estimate large projects shows that your subconscious understands that estimating is a lot like placing your business and employees on a roulette wheel day after day. Gambling with high stakes is sure to cause stress.

Don’t Stress. Get Manufacturing Confidence with Sage 100cloud Manufacturing / JobOps

For over 18 years, Sage 100c Manufacturing / JobOps has helped busy manufacturers improve their scheduling, purchasing, and costing activities with targeted software that fully integrates with Sage 100cloud.

One of our most popular offerings is the Enhanced Scheduling module, which keeps jobs on track with rock-solid, objective data that helps you determine accurate, stress-free delivery dates and labor needs—with no guesswork required.

Stop guessing and start getting stress-free results with Sage 100cloud Manufacturing / JobOps. Contact JobOps at sales@jobops.com to learn more about your options.