Starting a business from scratch is not an easy feat. You will have to wear many hats in order to keep your business afloat. A manufacturing business is even more difficult to manage because not only do you have to keep a lot of red tape and paperwork in mind, but you also have to focus on actually producing the physical products. You will be managing materials, equipment, and labor, and you’ll also have to stay on top of the supply, demand, and logistics. Seems like a lot? Here’s how to handle it like a pro:
Keep your eye on supply chain management
Over the past few years, it has become common to offer overseas shipping as well as to use multiple suppliers to get your materials. As a result, manufacturing supply chains are more complicated not than they have ever been before. This, of course, doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to handle or navigate. Still, it’s always a good idea to double check everything and make sure it’s watertight. Another thing that you just have to accept is that emergencies are impossible to predict and equally impossible to avoid. Supply chain breakdowns will happen, but it’s imperative that you develop your business’ policies so that you can deal with this even before it happens. We’re talking about alternative suppliers or even an emergency safety stock.
Take good care of your inventory
When it comes to your inventory, you really shouldn’t be taking it lightly. Keeping it lying around will send a wrong message to your employees, and might even result in damages. While it’s certainly acceptable and reasonable to have indirect materials (such as MRO) always on hand, when it comes to bulky stock, machinery, tools, and packaging, it should all be put away safely. If you have bulky stock around you while you work, it will cost you money. For your tools, get a quality aluminium toolbox and keep them locked when you’re not on site. For many manufacturers, tools are what makes or breaks a business, and you want to keep them safe and protected.
Keep everything clean
Your workshop should always be clean. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop your creative work and dust, but at the end of the day, you should wipe all surfaces and put supplies and tools away. A clean workshop at the end of the day will be of great help when you come back tomorrow. Dust and dirt might not seem like a huge deal, but they can slow you down and lower the quality of your products. Try to set up a system where you will regularly remove garbage from all rooms and surfaces. Make cleaning up a part of your daily routine, and make sure you take at least a few minutes to do it. Not only will you feel good in the workshop, but the clean space will make you feel more productive too.
Did you think about taking on someone who can help you out, or just learn from you? An apprentice or an intern might be a game changer for your small business. A comprehensive survey of CEOs has found that about 80% of CEOs in the UK show fear about being able to attract the right kind of talent. Internships are a great way to get people interested, share the word of your business, and leave some sort of legacy behind. As a small business owner, you probably don’t have the funds and resources to immediately hire dozens of employees, but getting someone who will learn from you and help your business means that you will be able to rely on them more in the future and not worry about extensive training of complete rookies.
Have the best packaging
Your packaging might not sound too important in the beginning, but it actually plays a huge part in how people see both you and your business. Getting the right packaging for your products can be the thing that sets you apart from the competition and makes customers and clients remember you. This is where your marketing efforts will really pay off, especially in the long run. Not only will good packaging protect the product, but it can also send a powerful message: how detail-oriented you are, or how much emphasis you put on being environmentally friendly.
If you want to manage your manufacturing business properly, you have to be ready to invest a lot of time and effort. It’s not going to be easy, but if you only focus on production, and leave everything else aside, you will soon learn that production only can’t make your business thrive. A business owner who is a manufacturer also has to be a manager, dispatcher, customer service representative, and quality control manager. The roles are many, but we hope that the tips we listed will help you stay on top of everything.