TMCnet Feature
April 20, 2021

4 Ways to Stay Ahead in the Manufacturing Industry



In the U.S., the manufacturing industry is on the up and up. It's the second-largest manufacturing industry, falling behind only China. Of the 16 industries (like food/beverage, textiles, and basic metals), the U.S. ranked first in seven of them.



With this success in mind, you may be wondering how to stay ahead of your competition.

As an owner or manager, you need to embrace change rather than shy away from it in this quickly developing environment.

Check out these four ways to stay ahead in the manufacturing industry.

1) Leverage Your Supply Chain for Competitive Advantage

To remain competitive, you need to deliver more value to your customers than your competitors. Plain and simple.

While you're achieving this goal, you should stay away from price wars. Instead, focus on ways to leverage new technology that will simplify supply chain management. Your goal should be to deliver competitive benefits like:

  • Improved customer retention and satisfaction
  • More efficient business operations
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Better control over your inventory

Depending on the nature of your operations, you may need unique equipment. For example, you may need to buy from an industrial automation supplier that offers otherwise hard-to-find technology.

With the right automation technology, you can address manufacturing needs in various areas like:

  • Procurement
  • RFID
  • Business Intelligence
  • Sales and Operations Planning
  • Logistics Optimization
  • Manufacturing Optimization

2) Ponder How Reshoring Relates to Your Business

Reshoring is the process of bringing operations back to the U.S. rather than concentrating them overseas.

Several factors have contributed to reshoring's reemergence:

  • The economies in offshoring countries are improving, so these employees need higher pay.
  • New software programs don't require a human to run the processes, making domestic operations more possible.
  • Transportation costs are rising, making domestic operations more sensible.
  • Infrastructures in offshoring countries typically can't support complex manufacturing setups.

Does reshoring make sense for your manufacturing business? Maybe you would benefit from bringing some or all of your company's work back to the U.S. 

Major companies like Walmart and GE Appliances have done so and experienced success, so why not your manufacturing business?

3) Capitalize on 3D Printing

When you implement 3D printing into your operations, you will experience quicker, cheaper production.

3D printing allows for speedy prototyping, meaning you'll give your product designers an efficient way to test and fine-tune their products. Need to produce products on-demand? 3D printing grants this benefit as well.

3D printing has already done a lot for tooling, or the process of acquiring the manufacturing components needed for production. In the past, producing fixtures, jigs, and molds could take a couple of months or more. Now, a 3D printer can produce the necessary components on-site. It often only takes a few days.

The aerospace and automotive manufacturing industries have already benefited from 3D printing, and this technique is quickly spreading to other sub-sectors.

4) Shift to a B2B2C Business Model

Manufacturers traditionally operate under a B2B (business-to-business) model. However, many are shifting to a B2B2C model, or business-to-business-to-consumer model. 

Selling directly to consumers provides many benefits like:

  • Better customer data: When you sell directly to customers, you can collect data on them to lead to stronger relationships, higher-quality products, and increased sales.
  • Brand control: Under a B2B2C model, you have complete control over your brand. A third party won't have the chance to misrepresent it.
  • Higher profits: You'll always get the MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) instead of the wholesale price for the items you sell.

The Bottom Line

From bringing in new equipment to shifting your business model, staying ahead in the manufacturing industry is no easy feat. However, when you implement these four tips, your company will be on the right track!



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