Tips To Consider When Running A Small Manufacturing Business
As the last quarter of the year is quickly approaching; Many companies reflect on their successes and failures thus far. It is natural for companies to experience some difficulties throughout their journey; However, this year, small manufacturing businesses are taken by surprise with all the changes being made.
Company's experience raises in taxes and material all the time, but not to the extent that many small manufacturers are seeing now. With a 15% increase in tariffs from all materials or goods coming from China, small companies are facing serious challenges.
As the global economic and political landscape continues to shift in new and unexpected ways, small manufacturing companies have no time to sit back and be complacent.
The mistakes that large enterprises make are just a few things to learn from when preparing to deal with the difficulties of running a small manufacturing company.
There are many reasons that running a small manufacturing business in the United States is tough, but here are several tips learned over the years to make companies run smoother.
Financing The Business:
It does not come as a surprise that one of the biggest obstacles in starting or running any business is the financing aspect. For manufacturers, it seems to be much harder than the vegan cafe's that are opening left and right.
The budget is not just for office equipment, instead, manufacturers are paying for customized equipment, tools, protective wear, materials, insurance and many tests that are being done on products to get them approved.
Manufacturers in the United States are competing with prices overseas where the overhead costs all together are much cheaper. This requires the US manufacturer to match or beat the price of overseas competitors.
Often when opening a manufacturing company, owners must go in with partners or silent investors, just to make ends meet at first. Since it must cover many costs upfront before they even make any products, the owner must have enough capital to manage several startup months before seeing any revenue.
Unlike most companies, manufacturing has a lot of trial-and-error runs. It is rare that a product is made correctly, approved, and passed all test the first try.
It may take several times to get the product just right; resulting in a lump sum of money and time being tied up and wasted.
Complications with supply chains are being seen more frequently as industries are dealing with multiple suppliers and overseas shipping. Making sure all kinks are worked out beforehand, so no projects are quoted too short of a time period and the product does not get to the client in time.
It is vital when running a manufacturing business that the company is prepared for emergencies. Some in which might lead to slower lead times or to a supply chain breakdown. Being prepared will ensure that the company loses as little time and business as possible.
If the company purchases parts from other manufacturers or businesses, having an alternative supplier or some extra stock at the company’s warehouse is advised, in case something happens to that supplier.
Make sure that the company is being honest with itself. If a product or item is not moving, cut your losses to free up space in the warehouse for new stock that is not dead. Sometimes, you can make more money by cutting the loss and replacing it with something else than you would hold it there.
Keep your small manufacturing business productivity below 100% capacity, so you can always keep up if you see a sudden spike in demand
Acquiring Expertise Needed To Make A Product:
Chances are that owners know a lot about the business but cannot do absolutely everything on their own. This requires internal professional help.
Internal help is necessary because making everything from scratch requires operating machinery, using the equipment, technology, and systems that some are professionally trained in. Hiring internal experts to work alongside the company to assure that everything will be up to code is vital.
Offering employees, a great work environment, benefits and vacation time may seem out of budget. But your employees are worth it, and they will take more pride in their work when they know they are appreciated. The company is only as good as its team; Therefore, properly investing in good help is so crucial for the success of any new or old business.
When running a company, it is also important to make connections with other professions. This will come in handy if something breaks and it needs the attention of an outside professional.
External help may be more expensive but making connections with these other fields could help the company out in the long run. Companies often need engineers, plumbers, technicians, 3D CAD, and metal cutting work is done occasionally. So, it is important to make those outside connections and to assist where you can be of help to other companies.
Marketing And Advertising:
For marketing and advertising, businesses should never skimp on the process. Consumers should know your brand and what the company stands for. With the world turning digital nowadays, it is no longer acceptable for a business to not have a website.
Staying up to date on the newest trends and platforms will help create an engaging following. This can be done using videos and all social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Make sure the company has a website and that consumers see it. Spending a bit of money on creating a great looking and functional website will not only increase revenue but also reach an even larger target market.
Outside of digital marketing, it is crucial that the company shows its face around the community. Consumers love knowing the faces behind their products, and sometimes the story behind the business itself can bring in new customers.
Attending charity events or joining the Chamber of Commerce for the town is a great way to get out there and market the company for free.
There is no better way to know what your consumers like about the company than asking them. Customer reviews and opinions are important. Reviews weigh heavily on many online shoppers’ decisions, so including them is necessary.
Once your online presence is created, thinking about other streams of income online is ideal. Reaching out to large companies such as Wayfair, Amazon, eBay and many more are likely to pick the company’s products.
Managing these outlets are never an easy task for makers, manufacturers, or artisans; use the proper management solutions to reap the best outcome. Photos and scroll ability are very important in this aspect, and the business should make sure that everything is in pristine condition and looks perfect on the site.
When enrolling for these spots, there are many rules and regulations that each one requires, so review them carefully.
Offering different versions of products to differentiate pricing is a great way to increase your audience.
Another thing to consider when setting up online purchases is cyber-security. There are so many ways for people to track and steal information now, and a consumer should never have to worry about it on a company’s site.
Two-step authentications are not an option but a must. Securing not only your data but also your customers is important. If this is not in the company’s field of expertise, this would be a great time to use one of those external connections.
Many of these tips are timeless pieces of advice, and many are new, but all are useful why applied correctly.
If incorporating all these tips all at once are not feasible, that is okay. Just start somewhere.
Before you make changes, take notes and quantify what the company didn’t previously quantify. You don’t want to start without planning and scheduling as you might cause more harm than good.
Taking time to focus on what a company is struggling with or might struggle with is advised. Don’t forget to take customer feedback to heart. The customer experience will directly affect how the small manufacturing business is run.