In all likelihood, manufacturing is going to make up some part of your business model. Understandably, taking charge of it may seem like a daunting task if you’re in the start-up phases. The manufacturing phase is full of unfamiliar processes, terminology and so on. Like any other part of your business plan, manufacturing takes some education and attention to really pin down. If you’re about to jump into manufacturing, here are some of the biggest red flags you need to avoid.
First of all, ignoring the quality control and efficiency in your manufacturing process. In manufacturing, measuring a product’s integrity and quality is an important thing to do, but quality control should go far past that. Thorough quality control in the manufacturing stages has a lot to do with how efficiently every phase of a given process runs. Les tangible things like employee dedication and satisfaction on the job can also come into play. Whether the factors are measurable or not, emphasis on quality control is still an important aspect of the manufacturing stage. When you’re looking around a prospective manufacturing plant, be sure to ask about everything from employee discipline to the condition of their dust collection ductwork. If you find they’re stuck for answers, there could be a bigger problem in their quality control.
Another thing you can’t afford to ignore in manufacturing is potential problems in the supply chain. There’s no such thing as a self-sufficient manufacturer. The path from planning out the product to actually producing one takes a lot of steps, and involves a lot of different organisations and parties. To make it work for you, you need to understand every little juncture in the supply chain, and the things that could go wrong. Where are the raw materials being sourced from? Are there any factors in the global economy or seasons that will affect the flow of business? Is there any risk of running into PR issues? If your manufacturer is stepping around these questions, or you can’t answer them yourself, then things need to change.
Finally, forgetting about the difference in materials. A lot of new entrepreneurs are surprised to hear it, but a lot of innovation goes on in the manufacturing sector. This is especially true when it comes to new materials or formulations which could increase efficiency at the plant. That old maxim “time is money” really applies here! While there are many manufacturers who help you create a better product, there are many others who become stuck. This can be down to financial and supply issues, or just plain apathy. Whatever the cause, it’s not something you want to watch unfold. The attitude of turning over and re-inventing established trends is probably what kicked your company off in the first place, and you should expect the same approach from your manufacturer.
Hopefully, this article hasn’t reached you too late! What makes a good manufacturer can vary greatly from niche to niche. However, these red flags are universal, and the worst thing you can do is ignore them!