One of the biggest challenges for executives and other top decision-makers in the manufacturing industry is recognizing when the current organizational isn't enough to help them keep improving. In many ways, it's possible to "hit a ceiling" with your current staffing levels, facility and more. You need to be able to identify the opportunities that will allow you to continue growing your bottom line, bargaining power, network of suppliers and so on.
Of course, you might not be able to recognize all those opportunities when they arise, but here are a handful of key identifiers that may allow you to take that next big step forward:
1) You're having trouble meeting demand
First and foremost, it should be obvious that if you can't keep up with the number of orders you receive — and especially if you have to turn down orders — you might need to grow by hiring more workers or investing in new production equipment, according to ScotPac. Simply put, you never want to stretch your production efforts too thin or leave cash on the table.
2) You end up getting through tough periods without much problem
Even when you do run into issues where you're squeezed, but you are able to come out the other side largely in good shape, it might be a sign that your operations are relatively healthy, ScotPac advised. Overcoming the odds in a potential crisis is actually the perfect time to explore growth opportunities.
3) You can't keep a tight lid on quality control
On the other hand, if you keep running into problems where your products aren't up to your normal standards because you're working so hard to fulfill a lot of orders, that's a worrying trend, according to Seacoast Bank. To avoid those ongoing issues, you may need to add shifts in the near future.
4) Your bottom line seems solid, but stalled
Sometimes, your company may reach a point where you're not taking the kind of steps forward you used to; hitting the wall with your production efforts is a common culprit, Seacoast Bank added. When that's the case, you can look into what, exactly, leaves you wanting in terms of growth, and move to address it.
5) Your employees are juggling a lot of jobs
When workers are increasingly stretched thin by various job demands — especially those not typically part of their job descriptions — you may need to bring more people aboard to handle those matters, according to the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership. When you do so, you'll lighten everyone's load and keep them in a position to succeed.
6) Your managers have to make big decisions more often
Being a successful business certainly means you have to make some critical decisions about your operations on an ongoing basis, the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership noted. But when that's happening at a faster rate than it used to, you may reach a point where those decisions should entail broadening your capacity in some way.