Due to the recent rapid changes in the global economy, ever-shifting consumer preferences and volatility of raw materials prices, manufacturers are finding themselves in an increasingly uncertain environment.
To stay competitive and keep their businesses growing, manufacturers should take a proactive approach to uncertainty — a way of thinking that goes beyond simply reacting to changes and challenges as they occur. Here are five ways you can prepare:
It's important to keep an eye on macroeconomic trends and industry developments, which signal where the market is headed and how you can respond. For example, to combat inflation, manufacturers can evaluate areas of their operations where they can reduce costs —such as by reducing waste or improving efficiencies.
According to PWC's Industrial Manufacturing 2022 Midyear Outlook, 52% of leaders in the industry plan to change their business model in regards to how goods and services are delivered due to changing economic circumstances such as the upcoming global tax reform.
Data can be an invaluable resource for helping manufacturers understand their markets and customers. By examining trends over time and across different categories, you can identify patterns that can help identify opportunities and challenges.
For example, you might find that sales of a particular product are trending down and that a competitor is gaining market share. This could be an indication that there is a problem with the product, or it could be an indicator of a change in consumer preferences for that particular category of goods. Then, you can use this information to develop strategies for addressing these issues.
Having flexibility in your supply chain allows you to react quickly to changes in demand or prices, and helps ensure that you can navigate through any disruptions that might occur. In fact, according to the National Association of Manufacturers' 2022 survey, 78.3% of executives stated that supply chain disruptions have been their biggest challenge this past year.
The key to building flexibility into your supply chain is to diversify your suppliers and distribution channels so that you're not completely reliant on any one of them. Another way to minimize disruptions is to be as lean as possible — so you can bring products to market faster and more efficiently than ever before.
A culture of continuous improvement encourages employees to always be looking for ways to improve their work and the processes they use. It's a mindset that focuses on how your organization can grow and thrive, rather than simply trying to get by or survive. The best way to foster this kind of culture is through leadership at all levels — from the CEO down through managers, supervisors, and manufacturing floor employees.
While technology isn't a cure-all for all of your manufacturing challenges, it can help you to streamline operations and improve quality. From robotics to data collection and analytics software, there are many tools available that can help you get more done with less effort — enabling you to focus on your company's core competencies and growth opportunities.