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Five Risks Manufacturers Face When Not Planning for Growth

While most manufacturers consider growth to be positive, there's no escaping the inevitable challenges that come with it-hence the familiar term "growing pains.” Business growth can indeed be difficult and overwhelming, especially when you're not prepared or have a plan in place to manage it.

Of course, failing to plan is planning to fail. As a manufacturer, you face serious risks to your business when you don't plan for growth or have the necessary tools to plan properly.

The biggest risks to manufacturers' growth

A recent survey commissioned by Epicor and conducted by MORAR Consulting revealed five key risks that manufacturers believe threaten their growth ambitions. And a recent Aberdeen paper confirms that these issues are exacerbated if growth is largely unplanned. The risks include:

1. Business growth may put excessive pressure on operations, damaging quality and customer satisfaction. If your operations aren't geared up for growth, OEE and throughput may fall, scrap may increase, and manual data gathering processes may hamper productivity. Service could slow down, causing dissatisfied customers to turn to your competition.

2. We might take on large/complex projects that we lack the skillset and technology to deliver effectively, and damage our brand reputation. If you can't get the right information to the right people at the right time, or accurately track statuses of raw materials and orders, it can take a serious toll-by reducing operational capacity and efficiency, and damaging customer service. 

3. Senior executives in the business may not be fully prepared for the challenges of managing a larger, more diverse business. If senior management isn't able to get an overall view of the business and make good decisions quickly, they may struggle. A lack of real-time, relevant information will force executives to rely on gut-feel for decisions, leading to mistakes. 

4. Unplanned business growth may lead to unexpected consequences which would have a negative impact on the business. Manufacturers who don't plan for growth will find that problems occur more often and take longer to resolve. Without accurate forecasts you won't be able to prepare for growth. If you can't respond quickly, you might end up losing opportunities to competitors.

5. Workloads may increase to a level that places too much pressure on staff, prompting key people to leave. If you're not prepared to help employees manage their growing workloads, the pressure they're under could start to show. They may spend more time on manual processes and less time on value-added tasks. Difficult-to-use systems will increase their frustration and reduce morale.

Do any of these concerns sound familiar to you? If so, there are actions you can take-such as deploying the right technology-that will help you address these risks, plan well for growth, and ensure that your business grows profitably.

Posted by Celia Fleischaker, SVP, Global Marketing at Epicor


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