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Product Problems in Your SMB: Should You Manufacture Your Own?

As with a complex piece of machinery, a business is made up of many smaller elements which must work together in harmony in order to work. Each of these components is important, from marketing to get your name out there to HR to ensure workers are being treated properly- however, some are particularly difficult to manage. Manufacturing is one of them, and if your business sells physical products, at some point, you will have had to decide whether you want to outsource to another company or make your own. While outsourcing does have its merits, it’s certainly not the only option. Even a smaller business can tackle this if they go about things the right way- depending on the products you make and the equipment you need, keeping it in-house could well be a possibility. Here are some questions to ask yourself, if you are thinking of manufacturing your products yourself.

What Kind of Items Will You Make?

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Your ability to set up a plant to manufacture your own products depends mostly on your budget, as well as the kind of items you want to make. Very expensive, complicated items for example with those with a lot of electrical or robotic parts might be best left to an experienced company. However, if you sell clothes, homewares or other items that aren’t as complicated then why not do this yourself? Have a think about the logistics, and whether its possible to make the things you sell or if they’re a little too complex for what you can do.

How Much Will It Cost?

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Even if you’re not making products on a considerable scale, manufacturing plants and factories generally take up a lot of room due to the kind of equipment they need to house. This includes machinery, forklifts trucks, tools, materials, not to mention a warehouse to store materials and products when they are finished. Because of this, you will need to rent a large premises, which in most cases will be expensive. You will also need to buy everything you need to run your plant, and hire workers to keep everything ticking over which won’t come cheap. However on the plus side, once these costs have been covered you’re saving yourself money from there. No more paying fees to a company to outsource, as this can be a chunk out of your profits.

Where Will You Source Equipment From?

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One of the most difficult things about setting up your own manufacturing plant is finding the right equipment. Since you’re a smaller business you probably dont have access to tonnes of cash, howevr you may be able to pick up second-hand machinery at auctions, on ebay and other sites both online and in person. It could be drills, lathes, injection moulding machines, sewing machines- 3D printer tech is a great way to manufacture all kinds of products too, with more and more varieties becoming available. You need to work out what exactly is needed to create the products you sell, and then keep an eye out for the best deals.

Are You Considering Health and Safety?

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There are health and safety concerns when it comes to any business. No matter how safe the job or building is, you could slip or trip or fall down stairs even somewhere like an office or shop. Although when you’re running a workplace that’s more dangerous such as a manufacturing plant, it’s even more of a concern. You have heavy machinery and power tools to contend with. On top of this, you might be using chemicals or hot liquids. Because manufacturing plants and warehouses stack products at heights to save space, you have the risk falling from heights too. If you are going to go ahead, just make sure your health and safety is completely up to scratch or you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands due to neglect. Everything has to be followed to the letter, and all staff members should have correct training. You should of course have the right insurances in place in case anything does go wrong, public liability insurance and employee liability insurance are both important for business owners to take out.

Is it worth it to make your own cleaning and personal care products?

As a smaller or medium-sized businesses, manufacturing your own products could potentially save you a lot of money, not to mention expand operations. However it’s not without it’s difficulties, it’s worth working out your budget and the logistics beforehand and planning carefully to make sure if it’s possible for you to set up your own plant. Otherwise, outsourcing is always an option.

SMBs, is manufacturing yourself something you have considered, or is this always an element of your business you would outsource?

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