The beginning of a new year is ripe with possibilities. For job shop manufacturers, this means identifying areas of improvement and implementing strategies to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving landscape. Here are ten goals that shop leaders we’ve spoken to are setting out to achieve in 2024:
- Adopt new technology. Slated to be the biggest trend for metal fabricators in 2024 and equally as critical for machine shops, investing in new software and systems to streamline operations, automate tasks for heightened productivity, and protect customer data is one of the best ways to stay competitive.
- Invest in employee growth. Successful shop owners we’ve spoken with are pledging to invest heavily into their most critical resource this year: their people. Those who continuously upskill and empower their employees will maintain higher employee morale and retention rates, driving efficiency and creating more room for growth and innovation.
- Focus on quality assurance. Resolving to uphold stringent quality control measures helps ensure that every product leaving your shop meets the highest benchmarks. You likely already have standards in place, but the start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate those standards: What are your policies and procedures for checking the quality of your raw materials? Do you have any new machinists on your floor since last year? Are there new investments you can make to help drive even higher quality? These continual improvements are what set great shops apart.
4. Optimize inventory management. 2023 was a challenging year for determining the correct levels of inventory needed to maintain appropriate safety stock levels. Establishing a clear plan to optimize inventory control will help your shop minimize waste, trim excess stock, and ensure a consistent supply of essential materials in 2024.
5. Embrace sustainability. The aerospace industry is growing faster than ever before, and as a result, so is non-biodegradable carbon fiber waste. Many shops are committing to more eco-friendly initiatives to reduce waste in 2024, implementing recycling practices and utilizing energy-efficient equipment wherever feasible.
6. Strategic marketing. Many manufacturers are striving to be more visible to their buyers in 2024, recognizing the power of revenue growth as a driver of profitability. Targeted marketing programs can generate a robust sales pipeline by helping you stay top of mind for customers and educating them on the quality, speed, and security of your services.
Hear how today’s shop leaders are embracing marketing to drive business growth.
7. Elevate the customer experience. Shop owners investing in Paperless Parts in 2023 cited their commitment to quality customer service as a driving force. Next year, we expect to see more shops implementing feedback systems, tailored services, and seamless communication channels to serve buyers better than ever before.
8. Diversify services. Once you’ve evaluated your shop’s existing capabilities, machinery, skill sets of employees, and resources, determining areas where you can offer new or complementary services can help you avoid significant investment in additional infrastructure. Reaching into new markets can help you stay resilient during times of economic turmoil and avoid being too heavily concentrated in one sector.
9. Financial planning. Setting clear goals, creating a comprehensive budget, and regularly reviewing financial performance will help you stay prepared for anything in 2024. Thoughtful financial planning helps the most profitable shops forecast challenges, expand into new markets, and allocate resources effectively.
Listen to industry experts’ advice on how to financially plan for 2024.
10. Work-life balance. Pursuing a healthy work-life balance often clashes with the demanding nature of running a job shop. But burnout can eat away at your business’ productivity and longevity. Automating manual tasks, streamlining communication channels, and incorporating remote flexibility can drive efficiency and carve out time for you and other employees to do more of what they love. Check out this case study to learn one shop owner’s success story in doing just that.
Remember: setting achievable and measurable goals is crucial for successfully implementing these resolutions throughout the year. If you’re stuck on where to get started, get in touch with your Customer Success Manager today so we can help you carve a path to setting and tracking helpful goals to make this year your best yet.
Sarah McAuley is the Chief Marketing Officer at Paperless Parts.