When you first launched your manufacturing business, you may not have had the headspace to think far beyond simply keeping your manufacturing process as safe as possible. But once you’ve fine-tuned your operations and demand starts to increase, you’re more likely to be preoccupied with devising ways to make your business sustainable, while boosting productivity.
If it’s your first growth spurt, the extra effort required to keep production running at top speed may be a shock to the system. These tips will help you avoid the most common obstacles that a growing manufacturing business might face.
Lack of Industrial Space
Producing more product or supplying a larger geographical area could put significant pressure on your operation, especially if you’re already at capacity. A lack of floor space, storage, parking or staff facilities may become a problem as you invest in new machinery or delivery vehicles. But before you rush off and lease a large industrial space, consider that this is your first real period of growth. Demand for your product could drop off unexpectedly, or level off for a while, before returning to its current state.
Don’t Rush to Expand Your Premises
While it’s great that business is going well, it may be wise to hold your fire on new real estate contracts until your future projections are more stable. Until then, consider the space you have, and see if you can make it work better for you. Whether that means erecting extruded aluminum canopies or sourcing shipping containers for temporary storage, there may be more creative ways to solve your space problems than diving head-first into an expensive, long-term commitment.
One of the most exciting but also scary things about your first growth spurt is the realisation that you have more customers depending on you. When you first set up shop, a breakdown or maintenance issue would result in a few disgruntled customers—nothing catastrophic. Now, the same breakdown or issue could cost you a significant amount of business. Ouch!
As soon as it becomes clear to you that an unforeseen problem could spell disaster for your bottom line, it’s time to put your backup plans in place. Whether that means installing generators or securing relationships with reliable maintenance experts who are willing to accept call-outs at all hours of day or night, don’t wait for disaster to strike. Because like it or not, this is manufacturing we’re talking about: glitches are par for the course, and something will eventually go wrong! Just make sure you’re ready to take it in your stride.
When it comes to business partnerships, it’s important not to get complacent. If you’ve used a certain contractor since you launched your business, the temptation is to stick with them through thick and thin. But that’s not going to serve you long term. Once your business starts to grow, you have too much at stake to use anyone but the best. Try to remember that it’s not personal, and go with the most highly-regarded service on offer.
When your manufacturing business gets going, don’t panic. Enjoy this exciting time in the story of your business. These tips will help you manage your first period of growth.