The first thing that you need to know as an entrepreneur entering the manufacturing industry is that you will be part of a highly competitive sector of the economy. As such, you need to keep pace with technological innovation and be in a position to offer something different, if not unique, to potential customers.
Innovate to succeed
Technological innovation is essential, of course, and even the merest glance at the history of manufacturing will show you that technology has always been the key driver of change for all industries. In today’s business environment, embracing technology means having the drive to cut costs and increase factory-floor efficiency using innovations such as lean manufacturing. It also involves engaging in advanced techniques that incorporate everything from robotics and nanotechnology to 3D printing.
Flexible business models
As every good business executive will tell you, however, real leadership in manufacturing comes from being able to look beyond innovations on the factory floor in order to make changes in your organisation’s entire business model and outlook.
A business model needs to be flexible enough to adapt to developments that threaten to disrupt any previously set-out plans in areas such as capital investment, staffing levels and so on. At the same time, innovation is not something that happens overnight. Technological breakthroughs in particular tend to be small and incremental at first, so you need to keep abreast of the latest research and developments. For business leaders, this is where liaising with peer group and other sections of industry can play a crucial role. However, maintaining a long-term vision is also key, and executives need to be able to communicate to employees, stakeholders and customers how they intend on leveraging technology and innovation over the course of time if any potential competitive advantages are to be actually realised.
The importance of information
You will have heard the saying “knowledge is power,” and for today’s manufacturing executives, acquiring that knowledge is easier than ever thanks to developments in data analytics and software and the application of that data across all aspects of a business, from operational costs and risk control to the procurement of materials and customer preferences
If you want one example of an individual using innovation in manufacturing, then take Jatin Mehta, who is the chairman of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited. Winsome has carved out a successful niche for itself in jewellery manufacturing by combining state-of-the-art technology with traditional craftsmanship and an emphasis on transparency. The common denominator in all of Winsome’s efforts is the customer. Manufacturing is no different to any other sector of the economy in that winning the trust of the customer is key, and with the increased focus on the importance of ethics in business, any organisation that emphasises reliability and respectability, as Winsome does, is in a position to gain its customers’ trust.
Turning a new venture into a lasting success is never easy, but a willingness to innovate and a desire amongst executives to take a leadership role in driving the business forward can be a winning combination.