Like any job, industry-experience is invaluable. This found my advantage having worked with manufacturing companies prior to founding Grain & Bake. This experience meant I started my business with a deep knowledge of my clients' mindsets and expectations. I've found the key to running a successful manufacturing business is to treat every client with the utmost respect and importance and to treat their product as though it were your own.
From little things big things grow, so rather than prioritising your “bigger” clients, make sure all your clients get an equal amount of support and attention. This is a basic, fundamental lesson only one that really resonates with clients.
Prioritising your customers will set your business up for achievement. Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to create new business – it's the best form of advertising! But this will only come if your clients support and trust both you and your company. If you treat a customer disrespectfully, the chances of getting positive person to person are slim. At Grain & Bake, our overarching ethos is that we love our clients as well as their needs come first.
But like any job, despite previous experience (although helpful), almost always there is plenty to learn. I'd considered this quite a bit, but the cost of running a manufacturing plant seriously surprised me. Things show up (and add up) so you've always reached take this into account.
But if you've never worked in manufacturing before – don't sweat. My top tips for getting started include:
- Understand your operational deliverables i.e. output per hour, wastage, labour etc. Fundamental essentials core success factors at Grain & Bake when measuring profitability per product; and
- Invest in an experienced project manager or business to run the project on your behalf to ensure all governance, risk assessments, budgets and deadlines are met. This might cost upwards of $150K but with time you'll get a tenfold return.
Lastly, but certainly not least, you must create a workplace people wish to work in. How will you ensure clients receive the best product if you don't have a great staff working for you? Looking after your staff is key – you can't own a successful business without successful people who are around you.