August 03, 2021

How to Succeed as a Leader in Manufacturing

Many entrepreneurs are enticed by the idea of the manufacturing industry as it is one that is constantly in demand and can be both lucrative and rewarding. While there is certainly the potential for great success by starting a business in the manufacturing industry, it is also important to be wary as it can be challenging as it is so competitive and it is difficult to acquire new customers when you are just starting, especially if you are operating in a competitive marketplace with household name brands. Additionally, running a manufacturing business is not like your typical business, so you need to be aware of the key challenges and how to overcome these. Here is a guide for how you can find success in the manufacturing industry.

Earn an Online MBA

Before you get started with a new business venture, it is a smart idea to earn an online MBA if you do not have one already. An online MBA teaches you key business principles and skills which will help you to set up and run a successful business in any industry –  an extremely useful skill in competitive industries like this. An online MBA will help you to develop strategy, lead a team, build an efficient business and overcome many of the issues that any business owner will face. An online MBA will essentially develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence required to achieve great things in the business world, no matter what industry you are operating in.

Choose a Future-Proof Niche

As with any industry, you need to have a business idea that will succeed both now and in the future. This means that you need to look into the manufacturing industry and see what sectors are thriving and what trends are developing, which should help you identify a niche to set your business up. Right now, many trends are happening in the manufacturing industry, such as:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Health products
  • PPE
  • Green technologies
  • Electronics
  • Food

Become an Industry Expert

Having an online MBA is important for knowing business principles and skills, but you must also become an industry expert in order to know how to find success in manufacturing. Once you have determined your niche, you then need to take your time with the market research stage so that you can know this market like the back of your hand.

You need to have a strong understanding of the trends, challenges, and predictions for the market, as well as who your competitors are and who the industry leaders are (along with their strengths and weaknesses). You must also spend time researching your target customer and getting to know their demographics, wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. This information should allow you to create a few customer profiles, which you can then use when creating marketing materials and making strategic decisions.

Create a Strong Brand Identity

Once you have a clear understanding of the market, you can then use this information when it comes to creating a brand identity, and this needs to be strong, appealing to your target customer, and eye-catching. This will include obvious aspects of the brand identity such as the brand name and company logo, but it also will involve the personality that your brand adopts and the language that you use with customers, whether you will be more traditional and professional (better suited to older generations) or more colloquial, fun and informal (younger generations).

Calculate Startup Costs and Find Ways to Make Savings

One of the most important steps when starting any new business is calculating your startup costs. You need to accurately work out how much money you need to get the business up and running and to cover the ongoing costs in the early days, as you certainly will not want to run out of money (a common problem for startups). Manufacturing can also be an industry that is expensive to set up in as typically you need a large amount of space and lots of machinery, equipment, and staff. This is why you need to find ways to keep the costs down without letting this impact quality – a few ideas include:

Secure Funding

Once you know how much money you need, there are then a few options to secure this funding, and you may want to mix and match depending on your needs. There are benefits and drawbacks to each option, so you need to familiarize yourself with each type and work out what is best for your particular situation. The main ways to secure funding include:

  • Bootstrapping
  • Bank loans
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capitalists
  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants

Choose Your Location Carefully

Choosing a business location is always an important decision, particularly when it comes to manufacturing. You need somewhere that is big enough to house your operation, but you will also want to be near talent for your workforce and somewhere that is easily accessible for suppliers and shipments. It can take some time to find somewhere that ticks all of the boxes, but your manufacturing business’s location could have a big impact on your overall success, so it is important to take your time.

Take Your Time With Recruitment

Another area that you must take your time with is recruitment. Many manufacturing managers struggle with their workforce, even with an online MBA, especially with the work that can be repetitive and physically demanding. This is why you need to take your time with the recruitment process and focus on finding people who have a strong work ethic and are highly motivated – even if they do not have much experience, you can use training to get them up to speed. When you build a workforce of hardworking, positive staff (and know how to manage and motivate them), it will create the kind of atmosphere that will lead to success as well as make work more enjoyable for everyone.

Invest in Your Team

Following on from this, smart manufacturing leaders will also invest in their team and empower their staff. You should get to know the goals and aspirations of your team members and find ways to help them achieve, which could include an online MBA or role variation. Goal-setting is also an intelligent way to keep team members and the business moving forward at all times, particularly when incentives are used. On top of this, you need to keep your team happy with regular positive feedback, a comfortable and welcoming workspace, and with regular social events and team building to unite the workforce.

Invest in New Technologies

One area which you must invest in and will prove to be worth the money is technology. Technology is particularly useful in the manufacturing industry because it can help a company in so many ways, including automating tasks, data analysis, streamlining the operation, making work easier for your staff, and reducing operating costs, amongst many other benefits. There are several technologies having a huge impact in manufacturing right now, including:

  • 3D printing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Cobots

Deliver a High-Quality Product

When it comes to manufacturing, quality is everything, and it will be impossible to succeed if your product is not made to a high standard. Product design and quality control are the two key stages to focus on, and it is important that you are delivering a quality product from day one; otherwise, it could be challenging to change the way that your target customer perceives you.

Bring Something New to The Market

Quality is important, but you also need to make sure that you are bringing something new to the market. It can be challenging for a new business in the manufacturing industry to attract customers as people will tend to stick with the more established brands, which is why you need to bring something different to the table. It can be challenging to find gaps in the market in established industries, but it is possible with competitor research and staying current with the latest trends and consumer needs.

Maintain High Service Standards

Of course, it is not just the product that you need to consider in order to succeed in manufacturing. Customer service is also incredibly important and needs to be a priority so that you can forge strong relationships, encourage customer loyalty and build a positive reputation for your manufacturing business. This means that you need to have enough customer service staff to handle issues in a swift manner; you need to make sure that staff are always willing to go the extra mile and have full transparency. Additionally, in today’s day and age, it is smart to offer some form of digital customer service, such as a chatbot or live chat feature.

Continuously Look for Ways to Improve

One of the biggest challenges that people face in manufacturing is the fact that it is an industry constantly going through change due to changing consumer expectations, technological developments, global events, and changing regulations. As a business leader, this means that you need to be staying current and always looking for ways to improve. An online MBA should provide you with the knowledge for ways in which you can do this and is likely to involve streamlining the operation, implementing new software and equipment, reducing environmental impact, and lowering your operating costs to improve your bottom line.

Create a Strong Online Presence

As with any type of business, it is very difficult to succeed without a strong online presence in today’s day and age. This means that you need to have a high-quality website build for your manufacturing business, use digital marketing to boost the website’s visibility, increase traffic to the website, and utilize social media. New manufacturing businesses might find it useful to create high-quality content to share on social media, which is valuable for their target customer and shows their expertise.

Get Involved in the Local Community

Manufacturing businesses can also benefit from getting involved in the local community in order to raise their profile and build relationships. There are lots of highly effective ways to do this, such as:

  • Hosting events
  • Attending community events
  • Partnering with local schools
  • Forming alliances with local businesses
  • Raising money for a charity
  • Sponsoring a local sports team
  • Assisting in community projects

Choose Suppliers Carefully

It can be frustrating to have your business set up in an efficient manner and be motivated to succeed only to encounter issues with your supply chain. This is why you need to choose your suppliers carefully and identify suppliers that focus on quality, development, and research – it is also smart to choose local and/or green suppliers for your business. Supplier relationships also need to be built and managed overtime without being overbearing and micromanaging them.

Lead By Example

Finally, as the leader of the business, you also need to make sure that you are leading by example. It will be impossible to succeed if you do not have a “can do” attitude, which means that you need to fully believe in the project, have a positive attitude in the workplace, retain professionalism, and always be looking for ways to self-improve and innovate. No business can succeed without a great leader at the helm and one who is passionate about what they do, so you need to consider how you are predicting and sharing your vision in order to find success, especially in a competitive industry like this.

The manufacturing industry is one which can be difficult to crack for a new business, but when you know how to succeed in this industry and be a good business leader through an online MBA and research, then there is no reason why you cannot go on to do great things in this industry. These tips will hopefully come in useful and help any business leader starting a new company to achieve their goals here.