It’s a myth that manufacturing in America is completely dead. It’s true that there has been downsizing, but American manufacturing is rising after a sharp decline in 2007. Independent startups can create a variety of products, and those who remain agile tend to do well.
Output in manufacturing is increasing, according to this June 2017 article, thanks to smarter business decisions, better equipment, and a higher skilled labor force. Here are some of the ways that manufacturing businesses are finding longevity in today’s climate.
Invest in Durable Equipment
Feeders, crushers and transfer chutes all utilize moving parts that wear down over time. Investing in a wear plate, a section of metal plating that takes the wear and tear instead of the actual machinery, or in wear compounds, aftermarket appliques that can be applied to areas subject to excessive friction, can ensure longevity in the machinery the factory relies on. Replacing these plates or reapplying the coatings is far preferable in terms of cost than those of replacing the machinery.
Taking small steps like this to invest in durable equipment, and to be sure there is a maintenance plan in place to keep that equipment functioning long term, will cut down on the costs of revamping a factory. However, machinery is only good if it’s still relevant to the market.
Utilize Technology that can Scale
Utilizing technology like AI to control the temperature and working conditions on the factory floor is a small investment with a major payoff. Removing hot spots decreases hardware damage and makes the factory function more efficiently. In addition, robotics can manage the small application of resistors or capacitors that human hands might struggle with.
Simply put, investing in better technology allows a wider range of products to be built. The entire semiconductor industry relies on manufacturing at the microscopic level. Learning what machinery will keep your factory thriving, and serving your target market, will benefit you in the long term. The costs of buying new factory line machines is exponential, and will require a history of strong earnings to ensure a smooth upgrade. That’s a major risk you can eliminate by buying and being forward thinking.
Build in a Business Friendly Climate
Another consideration that can be a major benefit for a manufacturer is how friendly the state’s business climate is. There are many factors to consider when you’re looking into which states are best for manufacturing. You have to consider not only taxes, but which areas provide ample land and have a population with workers that have the skills you’re looking for.
You should also be aware of utility costs, and if the state is friendly to Unions. Unions can be beneficial in some respects, but may provide some roadblocks for startups. Unions require different wages and benefit offerings, so you will need to make sure you’re prepared to make those kinds of offers for employment.
Make Good Hiring Decisions
Hiring people who make you feel good about the job you’re doing won’t lead to long term success. Your staff should be focused and productive with regards to the task at hand.
You must pay attention to your hiring practices and root out the applicants least passionate about what you do. This may require looking for employees using more aggressive means, such as going through recruiters or attending local job fairs to raise awareness. You must also create a benefits and training program that leads to retention. In the end it’s about profits and to make money you need happy, and repeat, customers; and employees who are behind you and your brand make those happy customers for you.
Manufacturing requires savvy business skills if you want to remain open for the long term. This country has seen a decline in manufacturing jobs, but output remains high. Entrepreneurs with a solid business plan tend to be the best of. Manufacturing requires dedication, careful planning and a willingness to continually work on the business.