In this exercise I will answer a few common questions about manufacturing and quality control.
Consider the viability of small business production in the United States today. Since so much manufacturing has left the U.S., how can a small business be successful in manufacturing in the U.S. today? Or, do you think that it is impossible?
Manufacturing is still strong in the US. There are many advantages as a business to continue to do manufacturing in the US. Some of the manufacturers still in the US stick to a lot of organic, and efficient technology. Those that have stayed in the US or businesses who started in recent years by using their own manufacturing facilities promote not only the “Made in the U.S.A.” labeling but also promote the fact that they use ethical labor laws and clean energy. Those that can afford to keep their manufacturing in the US still does. Not all businesses can be competitive if they stay in the US, it comes down to what can a business offer “different” to keep their manufacturing facilities in the US, this questions is answered by, what type of business do they run and who is their target market? If you target market is a consumer who is product conscious and only buy those products made in the US than you have a market and business to build upon. If you for example make cell phone cases carved out of wood from the Red Woods of northern California than you have a market to cater because there are many consumers who would buy your products. If you are targeting the plastic cases than you sometimes have to produce your products overseas because consumers are not willing to pay very high end prices for “plastic” therefore you’re in a way forced to produced overseas. Of course there is the 3D printing which is a whole different market to target, therefore regardless if you make your products in the US or oversea, make sure to first study your target market, and understand what they like, how they like it to be made (if they even care at all) and what price are they willing to pay for your product.
Discuss an example which you have experienced or witnessed where quality control gone awry.
Quality production is very crucial to a business success. When your producing a good that requires a lot of attention to detail, time and commitment from the teams involved is key to the success of the company. As a business banker I have the opportunity to work with many businesses, meet very inspirational business owners, and get a chance to visit their facilities. During one of my many business visits (which we are required to do for any new businesses), I went to visit a very upcoming and successful metal scraping shop. It was a early Saturday morning and all the workers were just getting to the shop. While I was waiting for the business owner to get to the shop, I sat down and watch as all the morning shift turned on all the machines and got to work. After about 30 minutes into my observation (as I waited for the business owner) I saw how they had little to no protection but some gloves and goggles, and I thought to myself, there has to be more protection to there work than a simple pair of gloves and goggles. After the business owner got there I went into his office and we begun our meeting. He was applying for a business line of credit and refinancing his commercial building. After out conversation about his last 2 years of business gross revenues and financial statements, I discreetly asked him if there was any additional protection available for his workers, and he replied by simply saying,
“no actually those goggles are new, we just added them to their requirement because one of the guys had left to the hospital due to an eye infection”. I felt I was in no position to mentor the business owner who ran the shop for over 20 years, however I did say “ I noticed that there are a few laws that can damage your business, I would recommend to seek some business attorney advice, because if the worker decides to report the business you could be damaging your 20 years plus business that you built from the ground up”. It surprised me how naïve a business owner of many years can be, simply for saving cost of adding any additional protect to his workers, and focusing more on rapid production and revenue, however into production the quality of not only his products but the employees is crucial and I believe he was opening doors to some major trouble. He was concerned about keep his quality of products very high and not spending any funds on protecting his employees. I mentioned that yes the quality is important but the safety of his employees is as important.
Many entrepreneurs face this same issue when running a facility of their own. Where do I spend my money, and how much of it? It is a very common question to ask. Make sure to always look out for key attributes, quality, safety, and efficiency. If in doubt consult an expert to help guide you.