3 Challenges Manufacturing Businesses Face (And Their Solutions)
Any business will face challenges throughout their journey and manufacturers are no exception. From a lack of skilled labor to managing production, finding suppliers, and targeting the right customers, product-making businesses face several obstacles.
In this article we’ll discuss the three most common challenges manufacturers deal with, as well as their potential solutions.
1. Tracking raw materials and finished goods
Manufacturers of all shapes and sizes struggle to keep track of raw materials and finished goods, as well as optimize their manufacturing processes in a strategic way. Some may use Excel spreadsheets to manage inventory, but this is only a temporary solution, time consuming, and quite constraining.
Once a business scales, it is vital to adopt manufacturing software to optimize and control your products and their components. Manufacturers can also use such software to track floor-level operations, manage production and scheduling, trace batches and expiry dates, and improve productivity.
2. Meeting customers expectations
Trends are continuously changing and so are consumers’ expectations. In today’s digital world, the modern customer expects to be able to buy online, benefit from fast delivery, have personalization offers, excellent customer service, all while being able to buy at affordable prices.
The world where entrepreneurs could easily find success by reselling or outsourcing manufacturing in China is long gone. People want quality products, from ethical and sustainable businesses, transparent in the way their products were made.
Building a trustworthy brand, having an environmentally friendly product, communicating directly with the end-consumers, and adapting based on their feedback are all key factors for success.
Scaling is one of the biggest challenges manufacturers face across various industries. The main problem arises from understanding the difference between growing and scaling.
Growing has to do with the output your business generates. For example, you may run a successful advertising campaign, which leads to an increased number of sales orders. This means you’ll need to manufacture more products, spend more time on packaging and shipping, and caring for customers’ feedback, questions, or complaints. It might be great for the short term, but this is not a sustainable strategy.
You’ll need to also work on increasing your input in order to manage the new growth. You’ll have to buy new machinery, hire more employees, partner with more suppliers, or even acquire a new warehouse. This is what scaling a business is all about – making sure you have the available resources necessary to take your business to the next level.
However, scaling doesn’t come without challenges. You’ll have to reinvent your business operations, optimize processes, manage your employees’ tasks, and more. It’s important to do your due diligence before deciding to scale your business, understand the market, your customers’ needs, and find ways to cut costs, mitigate waste, and optimize your resources. Adopting the right technology solutions, from a good CRM system to smart inventory management software will help you automate such tasks.
The three challenges mentioned above are some of the most common problems manufacturers around the world deal with. Having a plan in place on how to tackle these potential bottlenecks is half the battle. Managing inventory and production with the help of smart technology, staying on top of the ever-changing consumer trends, and knowing when the right time to scale your business are essential points to any modern manufacturer, today.
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