Archive for June, 2014
Like many others, I have long known that business growth goes far beyond simply building a larger customer base and selling more products. Company owners have to think beyond their bottom lines when striving to attain greater levels of success. In fact, they have to start rethinking and reshaping their definitions of success overall. If businesses stay solely focused on producing more, selling more and accommodating more needs, quality will invariably decline as will commercial images.
The True Definition Of Success
Success is the ability to have a lasting and positive impact on an industry and to inspire customers, competitors and others within your circle to do things better. Success in any commercial endeavor is comprised of a vast range of company characteristics and attributes but it always includes the following:
- A willingness and ability to prioritize quality over cost. This can mean keeping things in-house or paying to outsource to trusted, local suppliers rather than using the lowest overseas bidder.
- Accountability – Taking total responsibility for all shortcomings and flaws that exist within the business model or a company’s products, irrespective of how vast the supply chain might be.
- Innovation and Flexibility – Together, these characteristics create a willingness to move away from conformity and often leads to greater levels of efficiency, improved product performance and the ability to meet more consumer needs.
- Respect – A commitment to valuing all team members and their contributions will pave the way for new innovations in products and how these are manufactured. Even new entrants to an organization can possess game-changing insights.
Far too many businesses are spending too much time focusing on how they can offload more goods in their efforts to grow and expand their operations. This way of approaching growth, however, can actually stagnate an organization. I find that many of the companies that struggle in their efforts to grow, do so simply because they are working far too hard to push their current business models forward, when they should be seeking ways to streamline and enhance their current operations instead. When the right improvements are made to an organization, growth will be an inherent and hassle-free process, rather than one that requires endless investments and effort and that is likely to result in lost time, resources and opportunities.
Industries in the metal forming sub-sector transform metal into end or intermediate products, other than computers and electronics, metal furniture, and machinery. They also treat metals and metal products that have been fabricated elsewhere. Main processes in the metal forming sector include forging, bending, stamping, and machining – used to shape metal pieces; and assembling and welding used in joining metal parts.
Continued upturn in business
Going by recent reports, the metal forming industry in the U.S. has recorded continued upturn in business since the Great Recession ended in late 2009. Orders for 2011 were 8% more than those for 2010 and shipment increased by 11% over the same period. Further gains were made in the 2011 to 2012 period with orders increasing by 6% while shipment increased by 5%. Employment within the sector also rose by an average 4.3% with 34% of companies having openings for skilled workers.
Metal prices are also going down thanks to a more stable economy. Prices have gone down by as much as 50% since 2011 which has greatly contributed to the upturn in business. High nickel steel alloys and copper are the only metals whose prices haven’t changed much. On the flip side, prices of scrap metal have dropped to the benefit of scrap metal dealers.
The metal forming industry has embraced technology in several areas but industry leaders feel there is so much more that metal forming can gain from computerization and related technology. For instance, Enterprise Resource Planning can reduce cost of operations by up to 44% and greatly increases mobility. A number of companies (estimated at 35%) are now providing front-line employees with mobile devices to capitalize on this mobility and to improve worker collaboration.
Some of the benefits of these mobile devices include asset tracking, processing of electronic work orders, maintenance scheduling, instant inventory counts, error proofing, and real-time usage and delivery among others.
The future looks bright for the metal forming industry. The economy is still not as strong as you would wish but there is hope that this will improve in the near future. Access to capital especially among small operators which has been an issue for a long time also seems to be improving. There is so much to look forward to.
Managing a growing and successful business requires more than a good marketing team. You also need to be innovative. It’s important to remember that the warriors who were successful, the ones who consistently outwitted their opponents were never afraid to think outside of the box. Top warriors and business leaders who experience a great deal of business growth have a few things in common; they were willing to take chances and try new ideas. You need to follow the example set by these great warriors and be innovative in all of your business dealings.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re being as innovative as possible, including;
- Don’t get so caught up in what’s happening today, that you fail to look towards the future. Pay careful attention to current industry trends and
predict how things will change. Then, adapt your business practices to accommodate the changes.
- Rules are meant to be broken. Just because accomplished members of your industry have always done something one way, there’s no reason you can’t do something completely different.
- Constantly educate yourself. The more you learn, the more easily you will spot way to improve your business management and the product you create.
- Don’t keep to yourself, try collaborating with others. Getting a fresh perspective on things is always useful and often leads to steady business growth.
It was innovative thinking that has allowed Kryton Engineered Metals to go from being a young start up business in 1981 to the successful company it is today. The company credits its business growth to its innovative thinking and ability to adapt to a changing world has allowed the company to become on one of the leading producers of fabricated parts. Not only is Kryton Engineered Metals willing to be innovative in the way that they do business, they also work closely with clients and look for ways spun metal fabricated parts can be tweaked, allowing the client to operate at an improved efficiency rate.
Recruiting the right people to fill my various job openings is an important, and costly, aspect of my business. The job hiring expenses can take a large chunk out my budget for costs, such as advertising, referral bonuses, background checks, drug tests and travel costs, not to mention human resources hours. These fees do not even include the cost for orientation and training the new employees.
Hiring the wrong employee means higher turnover rates for my business that can quickly double my recruiting costs. This is why it is always imperative that I employee the right people the first time to keep these costs down.
I never seem to have a problem generating enough applicants for my job openings at Kryton, instead the problem is being able to find qualified candidates. The integration of technology into the manufacturing industry has created a lack of skilled workers on the job market, which makes it more difficult to find the specific type of workers I need for my business.
There are, however, some strategies that I have used in the past that have proven to be very successful in finding the right people to fill the right jobs.
- Created and posted a detailed job listing that explains the exact skills that were required for the job.
- Pre-employment background checks and drug testing helped to eliminate at-risk employees.
- Offered referral bonus to any of my current employees who referred a job candidate with the required skills.
- While working with a recruiting agency is not right for every business, it does reduce human resources expenses and could be more cost-efficient than hiring in-house.
- Application tracking software provides a quick and efficient solution to help the human resource department sort through dozens, or even, hundreds of applications. This software helps to narrow down the applicant to only those who meet a set criteria.
Job recruiting now involves using the every resource available to help find the perfect candidate, who has the right skills, experience and background. If you currently have a high turnover rate, you may need to reevaluate your hiring practices and integrate some of these additional tools into to your current human resources recruiting strategy.
It didn’t take me long to discover that in business, reputation is everything. It also didn’t take me long to discover that news of a single mistake with a client spreads a great deal faster than anything good my business produced. It was at this time that I realized if I was going to experience business growth and success I was going to have to take a firm stance on quality control. It was my obsession with quality control that led me to iso 9001 and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
iso 9001 is the first part of a quality control program that has worked very well for Kryton Engineered Metals. During this portion of the program the needed requirements to maintain and start to improve the current standards of quality control. Without iso 9001 being firmly established, there is no possible way for the rest of the quality assurance program to be followed.
What I really like about the ISO 9000 program is that it’s been organized in such a manner that any businesses, no matter what industry, will see definite improvement. Not only will your business consistently turn out a high quality, perfectly manufactured product every single time, but you should also notice a marked improvement in management and employee satisfaction.