Manufacturing doesn’t have to be hard

A common concern that I hear from many product-based businesses is how hard they find manufacturing. But you can make manufacturing easy. You just need to follow three simple rules…

As an example, I was chatting to a brand owner this week who was waiting for the delivery of a first-order from a new manufacturer.

They were reeling off a list of all of the problems they’d had so far:

  • Quality issues with the fabric
  • Samples being lost by the courier company
  • Lack of communication from the factory
  • Costs going through the roof
  • Everything taking twice as long as expected

They said that everything about making these products had felt so difficult that it had totally fallen out of love with their business.

I know that there are so many moving parts to running a product-based business. And getting products made can be a little challenging at times.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, you can make manufacturing easy.

Most of the problems that come with manufacturing a product can be overcome by following these three simple rules:

1. Be clear in your communication with your manufacturer

Make manufacturing easy, UK factories

The number one reason that products don’t get made how you expect them to, is because of poor communication.

It starts from that very first email you send to a manufacturer. And continues through the whole product development lifecycle.

If you’re pressing go on an order and then shutting your eyes and hoping for the best, chances are the best ain’t going to be what you get.

To make manufacturing easy, you need to be 100% clear on every little detail. Communicate at every step of the journey. And don’t assume anything.

The greatest benefit of making in the UK is that you have the opportunity to communicate with the person that is making your product face-to-face. So take it!

The amount of times I have heard someone say that they have had quality issues with a UK manufacturer, and yet they never visited the factory once.

Make sure you are there for those important first milestones, such as the fitting of a sample or an order coming off the production line.

And keep the lines of communication open with manufacturers at all times.

2. More haste and less speed

UK factories, make manufacturing easy

More haste, less speed – in other words, if you try to do things too quickly and want to run before you can walk, you’ll end up making mistakes.

For instance, many business owners get a quote from a UK manufacturer that it will take 4 weeks for production, but assume that means from start to finish.

But when a factory quotes you a lead-time, this is not the date from when you first spoke to them.

There are lots of things that need to be in place before a manufacturer can start making your order.

And if you don’t make decisions on time, or you keep changing your mind about things, then your order will take much longer.

A factory won’t start making anything until they’ve got everything they need from you.

So if you do have a deadline for when you want your order to come off the production line, make sure you make decisions promptly – and stick to your critical path. Otherwise, you won’t make your manufacturing easy and you will be disappointed.

Also bear in mind that whilst making locally is quicker than ordering from overseas, UK manufacturers are in high demand right now. And making a quality product takes time.

Pushing a factory for a quicker delivery is when mistakes occur. So allow everyone plenty of time to get things right and make your manufacturing easy.

3. Keep your manufacturing costs under control

Uk factories, make manufacturing easy

By this, I mean ALL of your costs. Not just the cost price from your manufacturer.

It never ceases to amaze me as to how many product-based businesses have not done proper costings. Then say they can’t afford to make in the UK.

A factory price for assembling a product is often a minor part of a product’s true cost.

For easy manufacturing you need to look at all of your costs, including (but not limited to) the cost of your raw materials, components, labels and packaging, and sample costs.

Not to mention wastage and unsold stock arising from quality issues and not having the right product on sale at the right time.

Only then can you really assess where you need to save money.

I’ve seen brands quibble over a few pennies from a cost price from a manufacturer, and yet spend more on their fancy packaging which the customer will chuck in the bin!

I know that working out your costings can feel a bit like doing your maths homework.

But turning a blind eye to the real costs of making your products will ultimately end in business failure. Fact.

If you want to make manufacturing easy, keep your costs under control and speed up the product development process, I’ve got just the thing for you!

Fast track your brand’s growth with the only group mentoring programme exclusively for small business owners that make in the UK – British Brand Accelerator!

Click here to find out more about British Brand Accelerator and how to apply