Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. What Manufacturing Businesses Want What Specifically do Small Manufacturing Businesses Want? - Here's what...

What Manufacturing Businesses Want

What Specifically do Small Manufacturing Businesses Want?

- Here's what...

Sadly, many ‘big picture’ things are out of the control of the small manufacturer. These include easier access to finance, better economic conditions and low stable energy prices. However, there are other things they can influence, with a little help and advice. It’s time to take control and help yourself…

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...

Core Business

  • To ability to get on with their core activity – and improve on it
  • Better quality, fewer defects and far less scrap – in summary, less waste
  • Lower costs in virtually all areas, from materials to general running costs for your operation
  • Better value for money on all purchases, particularly outsourced components
  • Clearly understood processes that work and help get products out of the door
  • Companies want to be better organized and more professional
  • Minimal bureaucracy
  • A better control of processes, resulting in shorter lead-times and delivery when promised – rather than simply throwing overtime at the issue
  • Higher productivity – getting more done, faster with your existing resources
  • Strong customer service that attracts both repeat business and new referrals
  • Sufficient capacity to deal with urgent requests, switched priorities and increased quantities once the production of an order has begun (in short, the ability to handle disruptive short notice problems)
  • Reduced work-in-progress and therefore money tied up in inventory
  • Make more money, either for reinvestment or for profit

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...


  • The right skills – access to skilled staff
  • Retain existing skilled staff without the constant threat of your best people leaving
  • Better performing staff – star performers who go that extra mile for the business
  • Staff success and progress stories – up-skilling through training and development
  • A business considered as one which attracts the best talented people
  • A place where people want to work, with a real buzz and a great reputation
  • Teams and employees who have initiative and believe in the business

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...

Positive Future

  • A thriving growing business; one that is successful, with a positive outlook
  • A busy, proactive, progressive business. One that is up to date and relevant
  • An excellent reputation, respect and recognition – both for employees and the business

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...

Innovate and Improve

  • Be able to do some of the best things larger manufacturers do, but in a way that is applicable to smaller businesses
  • Develop lucrative alternative revenue streams like advanced maintenance and spares services or technical advice and consultancy
  • Invest in newer, more advanced technology
  • Better market knowledge and trend information, including networks to take advantage of opportunities
  • Straightforward access to expert advice
  • The ability and opportunity to undertake interesting, novel work  
  • To customize their core activity, so it better meets customer requirements and is seen as different from the competition
  • The know-how to make improvements and sustain initiatives
  • Share ideas and access to experienced people and organizations who can help
  • To feel part of a community – something bigger, via groups and online networks
  • Headroom to innovate and improve, rather than constantly running, just to stand still

Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Indeed, plenty more could be added. However, it does feel intuitively right. In response, Advice Manufacturing has been developed with the explicit aim of helping in exactly these areas. Our core purpose is to provide small manufacturing businesses with practical help, to become more professional, to thrive and to grow.

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...

What’s Needed and the Solutions to Help…

  • Most engineers who seek help just want some advice or assistance for a specific problem or issue they are trying to solve. We provide the expertise to help identify and resolve those problems.

  • Engineers’ want to dip in and out of the information quickly, finding what they are after, before getting on with the job in hand. Advice needs to be conveniently supplied and set out in a way that is easy to implement, ideally in a step-by-step manner.

  • Complimentary to this, our advice can be applied in its entirety as a series of step-by-step implementation plans. Expert guidance is provided for those who know the business the best – people who can be trusted to drive improvements and succeed because their livelihoods depend on it – individuals who run the organisation from top to bottom – that’s right, you and your colleagues.

  • Of course, there will be some who want the full blown consultancy service – someone to hold their hand and undertake a root and branch review of the way they do business. That’s fine - we can help here too, through our network of experts who work to the same principles. But the truth is, many haven’t got the time right now for major disruption. They are simply too busy running the business, doing the core activities that keep them afloat.  Therefore, what they actually need is convenient hands-on-help to solve today’s problem. They need guidance and advice that is straightforward to apply and makes a real difference quickly.

We all know a lack of credit and too much red tape are serious barriers to growth for small manufacturers. Sadly we can’t control these and other external factors. But what we as engineers can do, is control what we do and how we do it – our internal processes and business decisions. We can become more efficient, more productive and ultimately more profitable. How do we do this?

One way is to adopt what the most successful manufacturing business do – but tailor it to the needs of small businesses, and make it adaptable, specifically to the needs of your business. We do this by planting the seeds of best practice, followed by actively encouraging the creativity, innovation and great ideas of you and your people through questions, hints and tips. Then we provide guidance to show you how. Advice Manufacturing has been developed precisely for this purpose – above all we keep it simple.

Advice, tips, guidance and step-by-step plans, all laid out in bite-sized chucks, to enable implementation on your terms, when it’s convenient to you.  Fit improvements around the core business of getting product out of the door and keeping the cash-flow coming in. Comprehensive advice for those who simply want to know more, together with step-by-step plans to start making genuine improvements a reality.

Implementation, led by those who know the business the best – you and your employees.   Remember, we keep it simple, to maximise understanding and speed up implementation and results.  All advice is based on sound manufacturing improvement principles, tried and tested in companies of all sizes. However, we’ve refocused them for straightforward application for small manufacturers – where time, cash and employee constraints can be toughest.

What Manufacturing Businesses Want...

Calling all Small Manufacturing Businesses… It’s Time You were Recognised!

The desperate need to rebalance the economy and generate wealth has raised interest in manufacturing industry, with both the media and the public. For engineers this is welcomed, if long overdue. However, often it’s the big boys – the household names – which seem to grab the headlines. But what about the little manufacturers who make up most of industry? Manufacturers like you - and thousands of others putting the hours in, working really hard, but without the recognition. Well, the truth is engineers rarely go into this for publicity – however, it doesn’t mean you have to let the opportunities pass you by. Be part of it. Make sure you’re involved in manufacturing’s renaissance. Get the skills, knowledge and guidance you need to be relevant, and benefit from a raised profile.

Consider this…

Various studies and reports have concluded much of the future of industry lies in High-Value Manufacturing, often with high-tech specialised products. OK, well this still requires support, through a vibrant, high-skilled supply chain of smaller manufacturing businesses. As such, small manufacturers might want to consider some of the points below if they wish to compete, win business and grow:   

  • Aim to build and retain knowledge, with higher skilled engineers and technicians.

  • Concentrate more on R&D, with emphasis on adding more value and intellectual property.

  • Compete more on quality than price (and charge accordingly, with corresponding margins).

  • Develop strengths, such as excellent personal customer service, quick turnaround times and rapid customisation (agile/make-to-order manufacturing).

  • Expand you network! Get used to sharing ideas, collaborating and working in partnership to access knowledge and expertise. Use the web, trade associations and shows, alongside industry publications to keep yourself informed.

  • Aim for a position higher up the value chain, where you add real value to your customers.

  • Innovate and continually improve your processes. Constantly refine manufacturing processes so you become better than your competitors. Base your thinking on sound academic and theoretical concepts (yet avoiding getting bogged down in the fine detail, unless you really want to). To improve, proactively use light touch statistics and data, together with lots of practice – but remember to keep this all relevant and user-friendly.

  • The best way to grow is to understand what you’re good at and keep improving at it. A good way of making this happen is to research by talking to your customers regularly. Ask them what they think of your products and service. Find out what more you could be doing for them.


Benefits of all this include better preparation for a high-value manufacturing economy both now and in the future, as well insurance against losing business to low cost overseas competition.

Use Advice Manufacturing to play help your part. Be relevant and be recognised.

What Manufacturing Businesses Want

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