Starting a Manufacturing Business
The U.S. Census 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures shows small business owners that manufacturing is still alive in America. Manufacturers employed 12.9 million workers and paid $757 billion in wages in 2006 even as competitors were sending jobs overseas. These companies were responsible for producing $5 trillion worth of goods in 2006 which were used by consumers worldwide. A motivated entrepreneur interested in a manufacturing business needs to have plenty of money and an eye for innovation before starting up the assembly line.
1. Decide what products your manufacturing business will create before searching for production space and employees. Consider the significant differences in raw materials, assembly-line personnel and equipment needed to manufacture cars, toys and video game systems. Once you choose a primary product for your facility, create a list of raw materials and search for suppliers to meet your monthly quota.
2. Outsource certain aspects of your manufacturing business from the start to keep overhead costs affordable. Your business should contract out marketing, aftermarket installation and accounting to keep your focus on producing quality goods.
3. Apply for a commercial loan from Wells Fargo or another major bank that can handle some risk from its customers. Your commercial loan should be large enough to handle the first round of production plus facility costs and wages. Bring documentation for your production equipment, vehicles and other assets to use as collateral for a commercial loan.
4. Choose a production facility with existing infrastructure that matches your production needs. Search for existing manufacturing facilities with assembly lines, docks and offices that can be easily reconditioned to match your company’s production processes.
5. Study local, county and state laws dictating environmental standards for manufacturing businesses. Acquire permits for waste disposal, hazardous waste handling and other environmental issues covered by state law. Create disposal plans for production waste and garbage to prevent damage to local waterways, forests and air.
6. Join a manufacturing industry group like Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce (WMC) to learn more about the policy issues facing manufacturers. WMC and manufacturing groups in other states lobby on behalf of their members in state legislatures, run marketing campaigns to support pro-business policies and hold events to bring business owners together.
7. Hire a handful of supervisors along with an assembly-line crew that will get your products rolling off the line quickly. Schedule your personnel into three eight-hour shifts that can keep the lines running at full capacity every hour of the day. Set a production goal for each stage of the manufacturing process to evaluate each department on a day-to-day basis.
8. Develop a distribution network for your manufactured goods through sales calls and networking at industry conferences. Visit with retailers and offices in your city that are likely to purchase your goods and extend outward until you have reliable revenue streams. Book tables at industry conferences and vendors’ conferences to demonstrate your product and negotiate distribution deals on the spot.