The manufacturing business is still alive, but it takes new strategies to stay competitive.
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Among many people in Australia today, there's a belief that manufacturing is an industry on the decline. After all, we don't have the same need for physical goods that we once did – our society is increasingly digital, meaning we have more data and fewer "things." The expectation is that eventually, we'll reach a point where virtually nothing at all needs to be made for us in factories.

While it's natural to expect a decline in manufacturing business in the 21st century, the truth is that the industry today is still going strong.

It might be time to pump the brakes on that sentiment a little bit, though. While it's natural to expect a decline in manufacturing business in the 21st century, the truth is that the industry today is still going strong. Factories aren't dying out altogether – they're evolving, finding ways to stay relevant in a changing economy. If you're in charge of one, you're surely looking for strategies to keep your business viable.

Paths to success in manufacturing remain

While there's a widespread public perception that manufacturing is on the decline, the reality is that companies are still finding ways to drum up working capital and stay in business. A recent study from Research Now found that manufacturing companies are investing more money into research and development than any other industry in Australia.

According to Manufacturers' Monthly, this is indicative that the sector remains profitable.

"There are many paths to becoming a successful manufacturer in this country," said Mark Goodsell, head of the Australian Industry Group's NSW branch. "A lot of them are different from what they used to be – even those who have only been around for 10 years."

Goodsell elaborated that the key to staying competitive for companies nowadays is knowing how to adjust to changing customer needs. By staying customer-focused and specialising in a part of the supply chain where they can thrive, manufacturing businesses are keeping up in a fast-changing economy.

What does it take to stay competitive?

While not every manufacturer has had the best of luck with staying competitive, there are certain strategies that have proven to work. For example, The Guardian emphasised that having your business stationed in the right location has become more important. Because different geographic areas have become more specialised, it's crucial to be in the right spot where customer demand for your product will remain high. 

Don't waste manpower on processes that don't add value for your business.Don't waste manpower on processes that don't add value for your business.

Keeping operations lean and efficient in the factory setting is also important. There's little room for error for today's manufacturing companies, so any one that wastes money or manpower is likely to be left behind. The key is to focus on the products that bring in revenue and avoid over-investing in anything else.

The third and final thing that manufacturers are doing to maintain competitiveness is leaning on the right support networks. These include mentors who can offer guidance with leadership and decision-making, as well as business partners that can offer finance solutions in a timFe of need.

Getting a little help with cashflow trouble

While it's certainly still possible to compete in manufacturing, the sector isn't without its difficulties, and it's likely that from time to ime, you'll have slowdowns in business that affect your cashflow. If and when this happens, it's good to have a fallback option that will ensure you still have some capital to work with.

At Cashflow Finance, we're happy to help with that. We offer debtor finance solutions that can give you up to 90 per cent of the amount of outstanding invoices. This way, as long as you can keep marketing and selling your product, we'll take care of the rest. You won't have to worry about gaps in cashflow again.