The six secrets of growing a manufacturing business

Have you hit the wall when it comes to growing your manufacturing business? It’s a common occurrence, especially for smaller manufacturers who may have to split their limited time, finances and resources thinly across multiple activities.

Andy Gough has 21 years’ experience in the software industry across two successful North East companies.

As day-to-day activities take precedence and growth takes a backseat, just how can manufacturers keep their foot on the pedal and drive forward business growth? Andy Gough, General Manager, at ERP software provider Datawright, shares his six secrets to success that your business might be overlooking.

 1. Free up your time for growth

Growth can only happen if you dedicate time to improving your business. As a manager, your schedule can often become full of daily tasks, but it’s important to set some time aside to work on your business overall.

Invite other key personnel to mandatory growth meetings and spend time enjoying the industry. Attending trade shows, exhibitions and networking events will help you keep your finger on the pulse and get strategically inspired.

2. Prioritise your strengths

You know what your strengths are as a business, but does everyone else? Whether it’s short lead times, exceptional product design or outstanding service, make these a focus of your marketing efforts.

Of course, don’t stand still either. Continue perfecting your offering to maintain your position as an industry leader and the go-to company for your particular specialism.

3. Get competitive

Often, business growth hinges on capitalising on a competitor’s weaknesses. How well do you know your true competitors? We’re not talking about other manufacturers operating in roughly the same sphere; we mean the manufacturers who have the same strengths as yours — your real competitors.

Evaluate what these competitors are doing, establishing their strengths and weaknesses, to derive strategic learnings that you can use to drive your business forward.

4. Make your growth measurable

KPIs are crucial to manufacturers, allowing you to track both employee and business performance. However, are you actually tracking business growth?

Setting KPIs around new business opportunities and wins, products and services will give you better visibility of your current performance. By setting specific growth goals, you make it a priority and not something that can easily be shuffled out of the schedule in favour of a more pressing task.

5. Don’t delay investing in technology

Too often, manufacturers perceive technological investment as an avoidable cost. However, what many don’t realise is that by avoiding this investment, they are in-turn hindering their growth.

Technological investment is more than just the machines on the factory floor. Rather, it’s the Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things that are driving forward the manufacturing industry. Likewise, ERP software could be the key to creating stronger client relationships. Delaying your investment could be pushing you further from your growth targets.

6. Use the power of networking

Networking gives you the opportunity to connect with others in your industry, as well as potential customers, new knowledge sources and new markets. Whether you do it through digital platforms or at a physical event, don’t underestimate the power of networking.

There you have it; no excuses. Use our six tips to success and watch your manufacturing business grow.

Datawright are a manufacturing and field service software specialist.

For more manufacturing insights and trends, read Andy Gough’s blog