This article appeared in the January 2020 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Businesses in today’s quickly changing landscape face a variety of paths to growth. Regardless of your business stage, commonalities exist in the steps successful manufacturers take.
The top ones can be summarized as follows:
- Think digital: Businesses get to move away from paper-based systems and employee silos to a digital business that allows for the business to run more smoothly. It can be as simple as moving from handwritten sheets to entering information into a tablet, or as complex as implementing an ERP system. Care must be taken when quickly adding solutions to address immediate issues. Successful businesses look at the end goal and how everything works together. Otherwise, they will eventually face a disparate set of systems that they must maintain.
- Sound Financials: Ensure that financial systems are in place and work for the business. Having accurate financials helps companies manage cash flow and make smarter strategic decisions. It takes out the guesswork and helps a business make sound and profitable decisions.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Set and track goals for KPIs that are important to the company and are tied to its corporate mission. If supplier issues are effecting the business, then track supplier-based KPIs like Supplier Defect Rate. If the company’s new initiatives revolve around customer satisfaction, then track KPIs like the Customer Fill Rate. There are many industry-specific KPIs, but successful companies choose to track the ones with direct correlation to their goals and issues.
- Suppliers: Work with partners that are aligned with you, your business, and your team. Do they understand your short term and long term needs? Can they work with your team? Can they provide solutions based on what resources you have available; be it money, people, or time?
- Support: Realize that technology is a driver but nothing changes without your buy-in and employee support. The most successful projects are those that are communicated well to the entire organization and when employees understand the company’s vision and goals.
- Listen to your customers: Are they asking for add-on services that the company currently does not provide? Think about how the company can provide these products or services that provide value to the end customer and grow the business.
- Data: Leverage the data your business keeps. With people and processes functioning well, put systems in place that provide access to timely, accurate data to make strategic decisions.
- Technology Infrastructure: Re-evaluate the systems currently in place. As companies grow, their needs change so it is vital to have a pulse of this. For instance, reduce redundant tasks by leveraging technology; in turn, freeing up employees to provide more value to the organization.
No matter what path a company takes to grow, successful businesses commit to looking at their long term goals and corporate mission when making vital decisions. The nature of these steps creates a strong foundation for manufacturers to adapt to today’s fast changing environment.
Innovative Solution Partners is an MMA Premium Associate member and has been an MMA member since January 2019. Visit online: www.isolutionpartners.com.