Working in an industrial work environment can be quite tricky. On the one hand, there are established rules and processes that are supposed to turn the X number of resources into the Y number of end products. However, there are so many things that happen along the way, that can complicate this process, lowering its effectiveness. This is the reason why some businesses fail horribly while others thrive and prosper, even though they belong to the same industry. Here are several tips for new manufacturing business owners in order to help them get going.
Safety comes first
In theory, the sooner your staff manages to produce the product, the more money you start to make, right? Well, what if they get injured in the process? Wouldn’t the compensation eat a huge chunk of your profit? Then again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. By ignoring safety, your employees and production workers will damage more materials, which is a direct waste and cost increase. Also, keep in mind that ignoring safety rules often means handling machines improperly. These are usually expensive pieces of equipment, which makes this something you just can’t afford to do.
Every manufactory facility needs to put inventory management first on its priority list. This will help you figure out your workflow and help you understand your expenses much better. You see, it’s not just about the rough calculation on the paper. There’s always some waste to take into consideration, as well. There’s also the matter of employee theft and inventory mismanagement to worry about. Generally speaking, every single dollar counts and keeping track of your inventory is the only way to keep it all in one place. The simplest way to do this is to find the right inventory management software.
Another important thing to understand is that you shouldn’t overinvest in your inventory. Finding a steady supplier is much more efficient from a logistical standpoint. If you have a reliable supplier, you don’t have to worry about not being able to get the resources in time. This will allow you to keep a smaller warehouse. For instance, if you are sure that you can get the supplies you need in a matter of hours, you don’t have to keep months’ worth of supply of raw materials. Sure, some manufacturers like to stay sure but for new manufacturing business owners, this means unnecessarily tying up your capital.
Proper employee training
The next thing you should think about is employee training. With the proper employee training in place, the risk of injury and mismanagement will be significantly lower. For this to work, nonetheless, you need to make sure that the person conducting the training is both skilled and vigilant. Second, you need to focus on the fact that the training won’t stick to each of your employees. Some of them will learn what you’re teaching them and then ignore it for the remainder of the duration of their employment. Make sure they have proper supervision in order to avoid this.
Signs, labels and marks everywhere
Just because your employees know that they should avoid something it doesn’t mean that they’ll be focused on safety 24/7. The key thing is that they are reminded of the danger constantly and one of the ways to do so is by labeling and marking things. For instance, lane marking tape can help organize an open-floor manufacturing facility quite effortlessly. Even more importantly, these tapes usually have anti-slip properties, which goes to help make the workplace a bit safer, one step at a time. Overall, it’s something you should never ignore.
The next thing you need is to provide your staff with adequate equipment. This will allow you to streamline the process and make the most out of your manufacturing space. Keep in mind that proper equipment also needs to be maintained and kept clean. So, even if you can afford a piece of equipment, make sure to inquire about the cost of its maintenance. If you can’t repair it, you prolong the downtime, which results in a direct loss of productivity. All in all, you need to make sure that you can get everything up and running as soon as possible.
Other than just investing in adequate machinery, you also need to ensure that everyone has proper PPE. In this industry, people are handling heavy machinery, operating power tools and working with sharp tools on a daily basis. Moreover, there’s a splash risk, a slip and trip risk, as well as many other related risks that can be minimized with the use of adequate equipment. Also, keep in mind that this equipment gets damaged in the process. When ordering them in bulk, make sure to have some spares. This way, they can just be replaced and the employee can return to their workstation in a matter of minutes.
Regardless if you’re directly selling to your customers or if you sell to one or two major vendors, you need to sort out your logistics. The supply chain needs to work flawlessly in order to allow you to have enough storage space. Otherwise, you’ll have to stockpile everything, which means that you’ll have to consider moving to a bigger warehouse. Keep in mind that both raw materials and end products need to be delivered either way. So, the only thing you’re doing by neglecting the logistics is getting yourself in trouble with no upside whatsoever.
The purpose of marketing in manufacturing is multi-fold. First, it helps portray your business as one abiding by the highest of the industry standards. Second, it allows you to reach out to a new audience which will eventually become paying customers. Third, you get the privilege of making yourself look like a desirable employer. This allows you to attract a higher quality of talent, which will inevitably result in a higher quality of work in the end. All in all, it’s what creating a positive butterfly effect is all about. It is an investment towards the long-term standing of your company in the business world.
Taking photos of the production facility is always a good idea. The thing is that you can use your manufacturing process in order to show that your business truly stands any quality test. Sure, the majority of your customer base are laymen, which means that they won’t be able to tell whether or not this is the case. So, when taking pictures of your workplace make sure to put an emphasis on professionalism. Make sure everyone is wearing their PPE and make sure all the equipment is clean and new-looking. This alone will be enough to impress your audience.
At the end of the day, you need to have an adequate pricing structure for your products. The calculation is not just the cost of production plus your marketing. You also need to count in the waste which costs you in raw materials, employee wages and the cost of substitutes/overtime that you get due to sick leave of your employees. In other words, the simplest way to make this estimate is to observe and record your workflow for a while. Then, you pull the averages and turn them into a standard.
In the end, safety and efficiency are the two most important factors. The funny thing is that safety and efficiency sometimes end up being one and the same thing. Most importantly, it all comes down to your staff. By keeping them safe and satisfied, you will keep things running smoothly. The same machinery can be operated properly or improperly, depending on who is handling it at the moment. Always bear that in mind and hold your team in the highest regard. This is really the only assured way of having a manufacturing business that provides consistent results.