Why did you choose to become involved in the manufacturing business? What is it about it that appeals to you? Most people, when asked these questions, will talk about their interest in the products they work with, the way they’re produced, and the process refinements involved. They’re unlikely to talk about how much they love dealing with regulations and red tape, researching supply options, or organizing recruitment. That’s because manufacturing work requires a lot of specialist knowledge, and people enjoy doing what they’re good at. Having to handle logistical processes as well is a hassle. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary one.
If your business is struggling to perform as well as it could because you’re just not that hot on logistics, you have two options: either you bring in a logistics specialist, or you take the time to learn a whole new set of skills. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose one or the other. Many logistics companies specialize in particular areas, so you can contract out as you see fit and do things yourself in other areas – what matters is finding the arrangement that lets your business perform at maximum efficiency.
Efficiency in the manufacturing lifecycle
There are many stages in the manufacturing lifecycle where professional logistics expertise can help things run more smoothly. Streamlining your core processes is an essential part of maintaining optimum productivity, and it’s something that will need to be revised on an ongoing basis to keep up with technological innovations and make sure that you don’t fall behind the competition. Beyond that, there are all those tasks where you have to look outwards and interact with other people’s processes with minimal friction.
If there’s one area where inefficiency costs more than anywhere else, it’s product distribution. Organizing transport networks often involves dealing with more than one operator, and trying to ensure that everything connects properly can be very difficult. While there are delivery companies that offer to take care of all this for you, they won’t necessarily give you the best deal, so you’ll need to shop around and explore alternatives. With prices constantly changing, this area will need to be subject to ongoing review, so make sure that you’re getting a good discount if anybody wants to bind you into a lengthy contract.
Dealing with rules and regulations, reporting requirements, and security issues require a high level of knowledge and can be quite time consuming. Every company should have a specialist – whether in-house or outsourced – to take care of the financial side of this, but it can be very helpful to source expertise in other areas as well. Free and subsidized training courses are available to help you deal with some regulations, so investigate what’s available in your locality.
Imports and exports
When it comes to importing and exporting, you have to deal not only with state and federal regulations but also with those of other countries. In this situation, it’s almost always better to bring in a logistics professional. Easy Imex, for instance, specializes in helping manufacturing businesses to import goods from China. Founded in 2004, the company engages with thousands of factories there and can manage the supply chain to make sure that you’re not ripped off, helping you to make substantial savings. It can also handle quality control, contracts, shipping, and getting your goods through customs, so all you have to do is place your order and wait for things to arrive directly at your premises.
Another area where many companies struggle is labor management, especially recruitment and training. These require skills that are very different from those likely to be involved in your core processes. Getting them wrong can be expensive, potentially leading to disputes, or simply meaning that you don’t get the performance levels that you’d like to see. There are numerous recruitment and training specialists out there, and they make it their business to understand your business and work out what you need.
The better you can organize the logistical aspects of your business, the less likely you are to have to deal with delays or goods going astray, and the more likely you are to have happy customers. In this way, logistics can not only improve your productivity and cut your costs, but it can also improve your reputation. Investing in professional help where it’s needed can really pay off, and it will leave you free to deal with the parts of your business that you really care about.