No matter what you call your small manufacturing business, a cottage industry, or craft business, the adoption of modern technology can greatly increase your capacity to produce and sell your goods you are passionate about. Many of these technologies are allowing smaller manufacturers to not only compete with larger enterprises but surpass them. We are now seeing several important trends emerge showing that small manufacturers are ready to take on ever bigger client lists and demands.
The rise of D2C
For some small manufacturers, the adoption of current technologies has unlocked potential gains previously not thought of. Take for instance manufacturing control software that is specifically designed for small manufacturers that provides a level of visibility into manufacturing capability that results in greater cost savings and productivity. The cost savings themselves can then be allocated to marketing or improving your online presence. This, in turn, can enable direct to consumer (D2C) sales.
D2C is further enabled by online eCommerce market places that allow the manufacturer to sell directly to the consumer. This has the benefit of better costs for the consumer allowing the smaller manufacturer to compete with bigger rivals while providing a more bespoke product. As you bypass retailers and wholesalers you do have to develop your marketing but again technologies have been developed to assist here as well.
Returning to the marketing side of the business, eCommerce has provided a wealth of possibilities regarding how sales are conducted. This resulted in the development of multi-channel sales methodologies which could be readily adopted by small manufacturers. They can now sell via Amazon, set up their channels, namely websites or via Shopify and Etsy, and supplement these with sales via social media. But it is not only sales that benefit from a multi-channel approach but marketing too as buyers can be contacted and reached now far easier than before via email and social media services.
Studies have shown that some 30% of consumers care about whether their chosen brands are eco-friendly. Small manufacturers are uniquely placed to adopt more environmentally friendly production methods due to their smaller size they are more agile in terms of strategy. Eco-friendly measures like lean inventory can become central to a manufacturer's production with not too much fuss.
Further, consumers are increasingly questioning manufacturing processes involved in the production of cheap products that have a human and environmental cost. Again small manufacturers are ready to fill the gap in the market with a more ethical offering. Given that the majority of that 30% mentioned above are considered millennials these trends will influence the market for the foreseeable future. The manufacturing control software mentioned above can help determine where to go green while reaping the other benefits of such software.
Things are looking bright for small manufacturers and the three trends mentioned above are by no means an exclusive list. With software developers looking to supplement the industry with valuable tools, small manufacturers will continue to compete in a market place more accepting of their bespoke products.