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What you need to know
- Communications & Technology
The time it takes a manufacturer to get a product to the marketplace often determines its success. Clearly, it's vital to get merchandise off of the assembly line and onto store shelves before a competitor comes along and steals the consumer spotlight. State-of-the-art communication systems represent one way to increase turnaround time and reduce cost.
- Sales and Marketing
Experienced manufacturers understand a strong marketing strategy plays an essential role in keeping assembly lines moving. As with any business, those in the manufacturing field constantly look for new opportunities to acquire and retain clients.
- Customer Service
The manufacturers of yesteryear often sited affordable pricing and quick time-to-market as reasons vendors stayed loyal to one operation. Over the decades, however, competition in the industry stiffened, and these once beneficial perks morphed into customer expectation.
- Staffing & Employment
The overall outlook for the manufacturing field appears bleak to analysts eyeing trends in outsourcing. The Department of Labor forecasts employment in the industry to actually decrease 5.4 percent through 2014.
- Billing and Accounts Receivable
The United States Census Bureau reports that new orders for manufactured durable goods in March 2007 increased a whopping $7.1 billion to $214.9 billion, representing a 3.4 percent edge over February's numbers. A robust economic indicator from a national perspective, certainly; but the fact remains that many small to midsize manufacturing firms continue to struggle with getting their share of this bounty in a timely, consistent fashion.
- Vendor Relations and Purchasing
With any manufacturing operation, the chain of incoming supply truly dictates the speed of the assembly line. All the more reason the purchasing procedure must work as a well-oiled machine. For this reason, most manufacturing professionals seek material vendors capable of fast turn-around time and flexible delivery. It's a common practice for today's manufactures to utilize a supplier evaluation process before signing any purchasing contracts.
The day-to-day procedures at a manufacturing plant pose many risks alone. Factor in all of the potential hazards that arise the minute a product leaves the floor, and it's no wonder industry pundits urge a heavily-insured operation. The obvious dangers revolve around workers and machinery. But how about those related to the consumer? Federal laws protect the public from injury and loss due to faulty products - and rightly so.
- Social Media Best
Practices & Applications
All it takes is a quick review of this section to realize
that trade organizations exist for nearly every product the
manufacturing industry turns out. Typically serving as
member advocates, these groups also provide opportunities
for continuing education, credentialing, networking and
other benefits. Check out the listings offered here to
- Industry Financials