When people think about investing in their manufacturing business, the first thing that comes to mind is typically capital investments, like new equipment or technology.
Sure, we all like shiny new objects that help us boost revenue right out of the gate. But there are plenty of other ways to invest in your business that may be less obvious due to the ROI arriving further down the road, but are equally important.
As a leader, it can feel overwhelming to get started on any new initiative, so consider starting with these three areas:
Getting certified and registered with international certifications like ISO9001 and AS9100D can assure your customers that they can expect safe, high-quality products and services that meet statutory and regulatory requirements. This is particularly important for attracting new customers. AS9100D is specifically tailored to the aerospace industry, and most aerospace companies won’t work with suppliers who aren’t AS9100D certified. If you want to manufacture for the military and defense sector, you’ll also need an International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) registration and a Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) verification.
2. Industry Organizations
Joining industry organizations like the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), the Precision Metalforming Association, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and Women in Manufacturing offer networking opportunities and resources for training. They can help you grow your business and stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices in the industry.
As NTMA chair, I attend as many events as my schedule allows, and I always come away with something that helps our business, whether it’s a new relationship or a way to increase productivity.
3. Sales & Marketing
Stay focused on business development and marketing. In lean times, it’s more important than ever to nurture your existing clients and cultivate new prospects. Investing in your company’s online presence through SEO, content marketing, and paid advertising can also help increase visibility and attract new customers.
Be sure to create a social media policy that contains the rules of engagement so employees will know how to use social media with a level of PR consciousness. Failing to do this could result in a PR disaster, which you don’t need! However, with proper training and coaching your employee brand ambassadors will exponentially increase your content’s exposure while simultaneously achieving more brand awareness of your business. Additionally, these employees will feel more invested in the company and become more engaged.
Building a Business Case
Investing your precious time, money, and resources into things like certifications, associations, and marketing might require some upfront costs, but they can pay off in the form of increased marketability, new business opportunities, and a stronger reputation.
If your priorities have yet to shift in these directions, think about the long-term plan for your business:
- With unpredictable market conditions and impending federal regulations, how can you best set your manufacturing business up for success in the long run?
- Without growing your business today, how do you plan to pass it on or sell it say 10, 15, or 30 years from now?
- If you’re not actively improving and growing your business, what would happen if your customer that accounts for the majority of your revenue goes cold on you?
There are more simple ways to invest in your business that don’t involve capital expenditures than you may think. Reflect on how you operated in 2022: Where did you excel? Where could you improve? If you think hard about it, you’ll find more new paths to improvement than you’d ever thought possible.
Want simple steps for scaling your shop? Download our “Guide to Growing Your Manufacturing Business” today.
Alan Ortner, CEO of Sirois Tool Co. Inc., has been with the company for over 30 years. Located in Berlin, CT, Sirois Tool is a precision machining and tooling company that supports the aerospace, automotive, firearm, and medical industries. In addition to his role with Sirois Tool, Alan also chairs the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA). He is passionate about volunteering with the NTMA and similar organizations to share what he’s learned and help others in the manufacturing industry succeed.