Growing manufacturing companies is a challenging, yet rewarding process. It involves making critical decisions surrounding fixed vs. human capital, diversifying offerings, operational efficiencies, and keeping apace with the industry. The obstacles may seem daunting, but there are some growth hacks that may be easier to implement than you think.
We’ve identified four ways to help grow your manufacturing company in today’s rapidly changing environment.
1. Hire tech talent and/or invest in technical training to grow manufacturing companies
Since automation technologies are quickly expanding, one of the biggest challenges facing the manufacturing industry is the lack of skilled labor to grow manufacturing companies. According to a Manpower survey, 64% of the manufacturing workforce requires workers with higher levels of education or expertise than in the past, and 81% struggles to get the skills it needs.
Finding tech talent—the programmers and operators who can expertly navigate these complex, computer-based technologies—is no small feat in this industry. If you can’t hire an already skilled workforce that’s fluent in modern automation tools, you should invest in in-house technical training. If that’s not feasible, you can subsidize training at local vocational schools or universities with programs related to specific technician needs.
2. Growing company strategies: Diversify products and services
Accepting jobs outside your usual scope can be risky, but with the proper preparation and processes in place, you should explore new viable ideas to grow a company. Quite frequently, businesses aren’t given a choice—it’s either diversify or get left behind. So being aware of market turns before they happen is crucial to increase profits and spread brand awareness in other sectors.
According to mfg.com,
The easiest way to expand is to look at your existing range of services or products and see if you can go one step deeper into the manufacturing process. For example, when you are quoting opportunities, make sure you inquire if there are any assembly needs, and extend that additional service to your customers.
Customers place great value on going through the lowest number of vendors because it saves them a substantial amount of go-to-market time and money.
3. Growing manufacturing industries: Optimize your workflow
Having an efficient enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place should be one of your first priorities to create a seamless workflow for growing manufacturing industries. While these systems were initially created for financial, purchasing, order management, etc., they can now be integrated with specialized applications like customer relationship, human resource, and asset management. This allows many back office functions to be automated, saving upper management from balancing these systems themselves.
Communication is key to optimizing workflow. This may sound obvious, yet 82% of manufacturing CEOs say that speaking with their employees is still difficult. With today’s mobile technology at our fingertips, streamlined and accessible internal communications is easily achievable through digitization.
By digitizing the frontline from both a communications and operational perspective, you can readily distribute information to every employee, especially field workers who aren’t in the office or don’t have corporate email addresses.
Arming employees with better tools to do their job coupled with precise communication and big data analytics can further optimize productivity. Here are some ideas to help your communication strategy thrive.
4. Adapt and innovate for a manufacturing company
The manufacturing industry is in constant flux as consumer demands change and technology continues to advance. Successful companies are those that can adapt to these major changes in the market and make adjustments to keep up with the industry. You may need to switch your focus when certain products aren’t trending or change your target audience.
Technical innovation can be costly, however, not staying ahead of the curve can cost even more. Buying new machines incurs costs that extend beyond just the price of the machine (installation, training, maintenance, etc.), but they’re also proven to be more efficient, and ultimately save money in the long run.
Plus, you don’t want to fall behind your competitors’ offerings and lose customers. Internally, you can innovate by moving beyond traditional desktop tools and adopting mobile communication.