Last quarter “steel” was one of the most sourced products on the Epicor platform. Sheet metal and metal stamping facilities are rising and contributing to the growth of this market. But it also comes as no surprise when steel and metals represent an important supply source to the aerospace, aviation, and medical industries — timely to today’s global pandemic of COVID-19.
So how can steel and metal manufacturing businesses continue the momentum of their business growth? First, make sure you have a clear business plan. Some manufacturers try to grow their manufacturing business by doing everything possible. Choose business goals that are realistic and document them so you can see your milestones and track your growth along the way. You may overwhelm yourself and your employees if you don’t have a clear plan first.
Understand What Your Employees Need To Thrive
You may have heard before that when you keep your employees happy, they keep your customers happy. It’s true that both your employees and your customers are at the heart of what you do — and key to business success.
Amerequip Corporation, a designer and manufacturer for the utility tractor, skid steer loader, and lawn & garden equipment markets implemented a number of steps that contributed to their $150 million annual revenue. One of the first steps was improving the culture of their internal teams. They needed to improve processes and reduce employee turnover to ensure their business was equipped to handle more growth. Ameriquip modified their working hours with morning and afternoon shifts that run 10 hours each, Monday through Thursday, and a weekend shift that comprises three 12-hour days, Friday to Sunday — and they’re now able to fill their talent pipeline.
Flexibility is what the modern workforce is looking for today, and it’s a solving factor of one of the challenges many U.S. manufacturers are still experiencing to bridge the generational gap. Addressing internal improvements can ultimately lead to efficiencies, improved quality control on the shop floor, and an increase in customer base.
Build On A Customer-Centric Model
As a business owner, we know you’re already focused on servicing your customers — but don’t get so busy tending to their needs that you forget they’re key to attracting new ones. Keep your customers happy by communicating with them regularly — outside of regular customer service needs or problems. Involve them in your new growth plan and ask them for feedback about what you could be doing better. This helps you keep their needs top-of-mind while opening opportunities to address new challenges for other customers. Also, reminding customers of your presence when they least expect it can go a long way in keeping them in your accounts receivable column. You may get a customer referral out of it.
Take Advantage Of Modern Technologies
We can’t stress it enough — it’s an increasingly digital world today and the strength of your online presence is more important now than ever. Many manufacturers may argue they don’t need an online presence because they have sustained growth through word-of-mouth referrals and traditional growth methods. But this creates a false sense of security. Seemingly overnight, COVID-19 changed the way businesses operate and individuals live their lives. Video conferencing has taken a big role in meetings, tradeshow dollars are being shifted to be used toward online solutions — more manufacturers are investing in different ways to stay connected with their customers.
Steel and metal manufacturing companies looking to grow need to take advantage of the digital revolution not only from a marketing perspective, but to improve operation models and the supply chain. Digitization in the steel and metals industry will give supply chain access to real-time information and appropriately respond to unpredictable changes in the market while decreasing risk and providing opportunities for growth.