More products are being made in the US than ever before. But for good or ill, one of the reasons that labor jobs are drying up is because less people are required in production. In some cases such as sales, adding more people means more revenue. But for manufacturing itself, there are better ways to handle growth. Whether you’re a small entrepreneur with one product or a large enterprise with many, here are some tips to be successful in manufacturing.
This is a concept that originated with Toyota and was adapted by many other businesses around the world. It’s about finding wasted material, money, manpower, time, and movement, and reorganizing your processes so that this waste is minimized. That gives you lower costs, faster results, and higher productivity. But to be truly “lean” requires that cutting back waste be a constant goal. You should always seek to streamline your manufacturing processes in some way. Continuous improvement will help you stay competitive.
Investment in better equipment and machinery is important. As you company grows in sales and volumes, distributors or customers will still expect fast turn-around times and high quality. Growth also leads to a need for higher production capacities. Machines that can do more and do it precisely are important to support your profitability. One of the most vital technologies that you can integrate is automation. Machines that can perform faster, longer, and more consistently than even the most skilled labor are important assets in maximizing performance.
Expanding your business requires cash. At times you may be able to find funds for major investments from investors, borrowing against invoices, stock offerings, and in the digital era, crowdfunding. But none of these should replace drawing up a budget that will cover your expenses and still leave a portion of income for reinvestment into business development projects, whether it’s refitting your warehouse or launching a bold new marketing campaign. Preferably, your growth should flow from your profits, not from outside funding that has downsides such as interest rates or giving away a share of the company.
Even if you have a patent on a brilliant new product, you can’t count on it driving your revenue forever. With the competition out there new, it may become obsolete overnight through advances made by your competitors. Whether you’re making coat hangers or Hydro Construction Products, be a leader by fostering a company culture of innovation. Frequently introducing new features and methods does involve a bit of a gamble, but if you aren’t looking to excite buyers and drive future sales, there’s a greater risk of becoming obsolete.
As a manufacturer, you should focus on becoming a specialist within your industry. Work hard at perfecting your products and your processes, and the gains will keep coming.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.