Many people assume that manufacturing has limited opportunities, as so much is now done overseas where costs are much lower. However, manufacturing is still thriving, especially parts manufacturing for repair, replacement, and upgrades to the millions of products that are sold internationally. Components could involve producing anything from plastic buttons to complex circuits. If you’re considering a manufacturing startup of your own, here are some tips to help you get started.
Make What You Know
You don’t necessarily need a degree in engineering to get respect or produce a good product. But to avoid a long learning curve, focus on components or industries where you have experience or special training. You should at least be familiar with the manufacturing methods used for the material, such as plastic or metal, and understand concepts like reading blueprint and following specifications. You could hire experts to handle these issues, but it’s still wise to know your own trade. Before you do anything else, write up a business plan you can work with.
Where you locate your business depends on the scope of your startup. You may need only the necessary tools and equipment to start small from your basement or garage, or you may build components that require a factory with expensive equipment and some skilled craftsmen. Although much is sold online and delivered by mail these days, for better time management consider a geographic location that’s close to vendors of your own raw materials and the places where your parts will be sold.
Where to Sell
If you’re starting small, you might want to focus first on internet marketing. Sell on Amazon or eBay, but have a professional-quality website created, and link it to various social media profiles as you seek conversations with your target customers. You could start a blog to establish your technical expertise, educate potential customers, and tell stories that help people relate to you and your brand. Your goal should always be to develop a relationship with repeat clients who buy in bulk, such as chain stores or other manufacturers who are always looking for better suppliers.
If you need a large facility to develop and produce your product but don’t have the financial backing to do this yourself, consider partnering with a company like Knowlton Industrial Steel Supply or someone similar that will produce the parts for you. They may charge a fee for set up, and ongoing rates based on the volume of parts you require, with cheaper rates for larger orders. You may need to supply a prototype, and stipulate your quality expectations. In return, however, some may provide additional services like warehousing and drop shipping. This arrangement can significantly lower your startup costs.
Getting a manufacturing business to grow will take time and money. You could find yourself flying all over the country or the globe to court new clients. However, if you can develop a great product and highly efficient processes, there’s virtually no limit to what you can earn.