6 COMMON TRAITS OF A WORLD-CLASS MANUFACTURER
Australia is focused on building a world-class manufacturing industry, with this year’s budget adding a further $425 million to their existing $1.5 billion investment in manufacturing capabilities. But what does world-class actually look like at a business level?
In the latest episode of my Manufacturing Mastery podcast (Episode 7), I sat down with my long-time business friend Peter Davies, Business Advisor, Hunter Region Entrepreneurs’ Programme to discuss one of his big passions – helping Australian manufacturers grow and develop their business – and to get his take on the above question.
Here are some of my takeaways from the discussion, which summarise some of the key traits your business needs to become world-class.
A CLEAR, DYNAMIC BUSINESS PLAN
The key element or foundation for success in manufacturing is to have a clear, dynamic three to five-year business plan that covers all aspects of your business. Make it real, make it simple, and make it visual – then share it with everyone in your business.
Once created, develop your plan, work on it, and then review it at regular intervals. Also, make sure you check performance against what you’ve targeted and then adjust activities as needed. This allows everyone in the business to see where you’re headed.
CAPABLE, PASSIONATE LEADERSHIP
Another element critical to success is sound, capable leadership. In fact, a business can actually prosper solely on the back of good leadership. But what is a good leader?
A good leader is someone who’s inclusive, who engages their team, and who isn’t afraid of new skills and capable people joining the team.
A good leader is also passionate. Look at any successful business and you’ll see passionate leaders at the helm. These are leaders who look ahead and develop and build capabilities in their people. It’s amazing the impact this type of strong leadership can have.
Being a customer-centric manufacturer is also central to growing a sustainable business, whether you’re in a mature or new market. Being customer-centric simply means putting the customer at the core of your business and manufacturing processes.
To be a truly customer-centric manufacturer, you must make every business decision with your customer in mind. This can help you gain a competitive advantage and grow volume. It can also help you enter new markets and become known as a true solution provider.
VALUE CURVE AWARENESS
Understanding the value curve is crucial. A value curve is a strategic tool that graphically illustrates where your business is creating value through its products and services compared to your competition. It can be used to help you identify gaps in the market that you can fill.
Australian marketers don’t lack the drive to innovate and diversify. In fact, we’re great at innovating across sectors and geographies. However, this is often done without the customer in mind, and if it’s not providing a solution, efforts are wasted.
SKILLED, ENGAGED WORKFORCE
To take your business to the next level, identifying the people who are going to take you there is also critical. The old way of finding the cheapest people to work in your manufacturing business may no longer be the right way to go.
New technology-based skills are increasingly needed. Therefore, it’s important you bring these types of skillsets in. You also need people who are engaged with the business, who want to drive it forward – and who are accountable and hold others accountable.
ONGOING DIGITAL INVESTMENT
Last but not least, a final key element of success, profitability and growth in manufacturing is investment in new technologies to improve internal processes. There’s an abundance of technology today that can deliver multi-fold business improvement.
Digital platforms also offer an excellent opportunity to get your products and services out to the wider market – region, state and global. By continuing to build on the digital acceleration of COVID, you can lift performance and improve outcomes.
To become world-class, efforts need to continue to be made at both a national and business level. By making sure your business works on developing these traits, you can add value and ensure you evolve to meet what’s needed for future success.
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