Tips for Succeeding in Today’s Manufacturing Industry

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.

Lean 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.

Machinery

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.

Budgeting

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.

Innovation

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.

What to Look for When Considering Manufacturers for Your Product

Many people think that price is the only consideration when it comes to selecting a manufacturer. Price does play a part in the decision. There are other factors that also need to be taken under advisement. Here are some of the things that you should look at when choosing a manufacturer for your product.

Do Some Price Comparisons

Shop around and see which manufacturers are willing to offer you the best price. This will give you a point of reference to start your search. Price can mean the difference between you being able to sell your product in the marketplace. It plays an important role in you being able to keep your doors open. You may even want to consider using multiple manufacturers for your products. This will give you a little bit more versatility when it comes to being able to meet the demands of your customers.

Consider the Quality

Quality may play an even more important role in how you select your manufacturer. It may not seem like it should make that much of a difference, but it can be a game changer. The quality of the machinery or equipment that is producing your product will have an impact on it. One example of this is with an air dryer that’s installed on equipment to keep the water out during manufacturing. This protects your product from developing flaws during the processing phase.

Look at the Service Contract

Examine the legal details in your service contract. Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the services that you will be provided. Consider building in a stipulation for on time deliveries. You don’t want your business to suffer because you can’t provide your customers with a final product. The legal contract should also include any arbitration agreements that parties need to follow. Consider having your lawyer look over your agreement for any red flags.

Develop a Working Relationship

You need to know who you’re doing business with in this relationship. Develop points of contact so that you can put a face to your interactions. You may find that it’s easier to work with people when you understand their motivations. Keep it professional, but don’t be aloof. You’re doing business with the people at the company, not their equipment. Having these relationships early on can eliminate any problems that you may encounter.

Selecting the right manufacturer is a fairly involved process. Use these tips to aid you in your search so that you can create a good product for your customers.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

How To Launch Your First Physical Product

The world of business is changing. Years before, it could take a lot of time and thought in order for you to get your business off of the ground. You could spend years doing your research and raising the funding you need to create your product and put it out into the market. However, now, you can also work on your craft at the same time. Because launching a content website is often the first step. When you have a blog, social channel, or online magazine, you’ll find that you’re able to create an audience, generate an income, and really get your research together before you launch that product. Sometimes, you don’t even have the intention or launching anything until you discover that there’s a need for it. So, your next project begins. But when it comes to actually launching that physical product, how should you go about it?

  1. Use Your Research

As we’ve lightly touched on, your research here is going to be crucial. When you’re working with an audience that you know well, you’ll have a lot of insight into who they are and what they want. You’ll even have the data to back it up. So make sure you pull all of your analytics data and any feedback you have to work out what they want. You can even ask them directly, just to make sure that the first product you launch is exactly what they want.

  1. Source A Manufacturer

When you do know what product you’re going to go with, you then need to find your manufacturer. The beauty of the modern world is that you don’t have to do any of this in-house. You can work with a dedicated supplier that will design, produce, and ship this product for you. Just make sure you pick out a company that you trust, that you can work well with, and that you think will do the best job.

  1. Design Your Packaging

While this is all starting to take off, you’re going to want to decide on your packaging design. For this, you might need printed labels for the actual product itself, boxes or outer packaging, shopping packaging, and even tags. Regardless of what you need, just make sure that everything fits with your brand.

  1. Anticipate The Launch

From here, you’re then going to want to make sure that you’re ready for your product launch. A great way to do this is to build up your product launch email list. Not only will you get to see what kind of interest there is, but you can market directly to the interested parties when you’re about to launch.

  1. React

And finally, you have to be able to react too. When you see how well your product is selling, you’ll want to determine whether you need to place another order, or start to work out whether you should launch another product and when. By reacting to what your customers want, you’ll always be able to ensure that your products are a success.

These U.S. Manufacturers’ Know How to Budget

Staying on budget is one of the most important aspects of any business and there are plenty of manufacturing companies that put their budgets first.

shutterstock_113492155If your business is in need of some budgeting inspiration, it needs to look no further than manufacturers in the United States.

With well-built budgeting in mind, here are a handful of manufacturing companies that really know how to budget….

Manufacturers Spending Wisely

No matter how large or small, manufacturing companies of all sizes have to keep their budgets on track.

As the government increases taxes and healthcare costs for major U.S. manufacturers, budgetary concerns become even more critical.

Here are just a few ways some manufacturers are dealing with their finances:

  • American Standard – American Standard Brands is a major manufacturer of toilets, sinks, and other plumbing products. To keep their budgeting on track, the company cuts back on production if and when sales drop from one quarter to the next.
  • Superior Products LLC – The natural gas fittings and regulators manufacturer Superior Products LLC budgets wisely by keeping track of its exporting practicing. They bulk ship items across seas and hold off on importing supplies until they have a full order, which cuts down on shipping costs.
  • Boeing Corporation – Even Boeing, manufacturer of commercial airliners, is cutting back in order to stay within budget. Instead of moving forward with their multi-billion dollar 787 Dreamliner project, they are putting it on the backburner until equipment and supplies costs drop.
  • Navistar International – Navistar International manufactures military trucks and engine parts. Most of their business comes from Department of Defense contracts and, whenever these contracts slow, Navistar pulls back on production in order to keep its budget in the black.

Budgeting Tips

Although your business might not manufacturer airplanes or plumbing parts, there are some lessons you can learn from major manufacturers when it comes to budgeting. From cutting back to keeping an eye on the numbers, a healthy budget is attainable even in this tough economic climate.

As the following article shows, the two most important budgetary tips you should follow are to keep track of your finances with a free budget template and stay vigilant with the numbers. Budgeting with a template is a helpful way to track your expenses and pinpoint financial issues when they arise.

Likewise, staying hyper vigilant of your business’s numbers is also crucial.

Budgeting once or twice a week instead of once a month is the best approach to take. When your expenses and earnings are always in the spotlight, you’ll have an easier time staying within budget.

Make Your Budget a Reality

From the biggest manufacturers’ to the smallest, run the numbers, see what’s possible, and aim for that financial goal. If you’re doing better than expected, you can adjust your budget accordingly.

However, if you continuously fail to stay within budget, you need to reassess and possibly make some cutbacks like the major manufacturers above.

When it comes to budgeting, your business can definitely learn a thing of two from many U.S. manufacturing companies.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including budgeting and small business.

Thanks to Nelly Sheina for sharing some additional resources:

Budget Templates for Excel

Budget Templates from Dotxes