Global competition? Shrinking margins? Talent shortages? Integration of advanced technologies and manufacturing processes? Looming recession?
Domestic small manufacturers are facing challenges like never before. Without taking action, they are likely to find themselves vulnerable and risk rendering their business obsolete over time.
“Don’t be afraid of the storms as they are the opportunity to learn how to sail your ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott
Small manufacturers have two choices…sit back and ride these unstable waves or navigate your way through turbulent waters. The LTU Collaboratory has launched a new Accelerator program called Scale Up for Success dedicated to assist small manufacturers with remaining relevant and planning for sustainability and future growth. The program will offer select Southeast Michigan small manufacturers dedicated strategic assistance, services, mentorship, and training to directly support the stability, growth and scale up of their business. Area of support include…
- Company growth assessment
- Individualized training and mentorship
- Strategic plan development
- Leaning your operations
- Leaning your product design
- Exposure and integration of advanced manufacturing technologies
- Customer and market diversification strategy
- Student engagement including design/engineering challenges, internships, co-ops
Why is LTU Collaboratory supporting small manufacturers? This group represents 1,900 companies located in Southeast Michigan who employ tens of thousands of employees that earn higher than national average wages. These companies are among the most creative and innovation firms in the nation due to their direct involvement in product manufacturing and production process improvements. Not convinced? There are major economic advantages associated with growing and retaining manufacturing jobs. Specifically…
- 1.2 jobs are created in other industries for every manufacturing job created compared to an additional .89 jobs created by adding a non-manufacturing job.
- For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.89 is added to the economy.
- U.S. manufacturing jobs paid on average $82,023 in wages and benefits in 2016 that is 12% higher than non-manufacturing jobs.
- Manufacturing employs a higher share of workers without a college degree and pays them 10.9% more than other industries.
- Small and medium-sized businesses are major exporters of product, accounting for 98% of the U.S. companies selling goods overseas.
For all these reasons, the LTU Collaboratory Scale Up for Success program finds itself in a unique position to be one of the few supporting Accelerator programs focused on supporting small manufacturers!
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
So how do small manufacturers turn their challenges into opportunities…threats into fortune? We propose a 5-part plan…
1. Start by developing a sound business strategy
2. Lean your operations to generate margin and investment capital
3. Lean your product/part designs to improve profits, offer customer value and create even more investment capital
4. Diversify your customer base to include multiple markets that can offer stability when industry sectors are subjected to recession
5. Investigate and integrate advanced technologies like additive manufacturing, automation, industry 4.0 techniques to provide a competitive advantage for your company
“The best way to the predict the future is to create it.”
– Abraham Lincoln
So where do you start? Put up your sails, ditch the compass for a GPS and start moving guided by the winds of change and opportunity.
If you are a small manufacturer in Southeast Michigan and interested to learn more about the services provided by the LTU Collaboratory Scale Up for Success program please visit the program webpage and attend the next quarterly Small Manufacturers Roundtable scheduled for March 16, 2018.
We look forward to helping you remain relevant, paving a way for sustainability and scaling your company for growth!