2. Plan to scale
One of the biggest mistakes that small manufacturing business owners make is not having a plan for a sudden increase in demand. If your product takes off and you can’t keep up with the orders, you’ll quickly lose customers and damage your reputation.
It could even sink the entire operation, the opposite of what should happen when you’re making a desirable product.
It’s important to have a scalable business plan from the beginning so that you can take advantage of any growth opportunities that come your way. This might mean:
- Outsourcing some of the work to other manufacturers
- Interviewing a potential partner who is interested in the business
- Investing in equipment that can handle larger production runs
- Develop marketing campaigns that can be launched quickly
- Hiring more employees or consultants to help with the increased workload
Even if you don’t have enough capital to set up these processes ahead of time, there should be a concrete plan in place for how you will scale the business if demand increases. “If I receive a purchase order for 1,000 units, I will do X.”
This can be a make-or-break factor for small manufacturers, so it’s important to get it right.
3. Lean manufacturing
There is a methodology called lean manufacturing that can help you eliminate waste in your processes and make your business more efficient. This could be a valuable tool as you scale up since it will help you save time and money while still ensuring that quality standards are met.
4. Don’t be afraid to pivot
When you are focused on how to become a manufacturer, it might be tempting to jump at the first idea you think of. But manufacturing is a complex process, and there are many factors to consider before you commit to a product. It’s important to have a flexible mindset and be willing to pivot if necessary.
For example, you might research the market and realize that there is more demand for a different product than the one you originally planned to make. Or you might build a prototype and discover that it’s not as easy or cheap to produce as you thought.
In either case, it’s better to make a change early on than to waste time and money on a product that won’t be successful.
Pivoting can be difficult, but building a successful manufacturing business is often necessary. You can increase your chances of success by being open to new business ideas to start making changes.
5. Leverage software solutions
If you were reading an article on how to get into manufacturing 30 years ago, it might have suggested learning accounting, design, and a host of other business functions. But today, there are third-party software solutions for just about everything.
You can use accounting software to keep track of your finances, design software for 3D printing of your product, and project management software to plan and execute your manufacturing process.
There are also full ERP solutions like Katana that combine many of these features into one platform. This can be a big help for small businesses that don’t have the resources to invest in multiple software solutions.
By integrating all of these tools into one system, you can get a better overview of your business and make more informed decisions.