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5 Ways Manufacturers Must Meet Changing Customer Demands

5 Ways Manufacturers Must Meet Changing Customer Demands

A company is nothing without customers. Even if you have great products or services, you’re not going to last if you don’t give clients what they want.

While it might not be possible to meet the most extreme demands, most customers are going to expect certain things when they make a purchase. Those expectations are continually shifting over time, which means companies need to keep their fingers on the pulse of what people really want.

Here are five ways manufacturers must meet changing customer demands today.

Meeting Production and Delivery Deadlines

No matter the business or industry, customers want to receive their goods in a timely manner. This issue, however, has become more difficult to navigate in today’s world.

With the growing amount of technology and resources, one might think that manufacturing today is a walk in the park compared to what it was in the past. While the process itself has certainly been improved in countless ways, there’s one big problem facing just about everyone in this space: competitive forces.

We live in an era of next or even same-day deliveries thanks to massive organizations like Amazon and complex logistics systems. People in today’s economy are inherently coming to expect greater speed. Manufacturers need to keep up with this by finding ways to get products to customers faster than their competitors.

Creating Transparency Throughout the Process

For a lot of people, when they hear the word “manufacturing,” they imagine something akin to Henry Ford’s assembly line. While this was once the pinnacle of manufacturing prowess, this style of assembly would look archaic compared to manufacturing today.

The idea of bringing down costs by making things more efficient is still alive and well in the world of manufacturing. The processes used for achieving efficiency have just changed.

It’s important to give customers some level of insight into what needs to happen in order to build their orders. This can go a long way in helping them wrap their heads around timing and costs. Manufacturers are also wise to give their customers frequent updates on the status of their orders. Having this knowledge helps everyone stay on the same page, while also allowing clients to better mediate their own expectations.

Streamlining Every Process Possible

At its core, manufacturing is about making a lot of goods in less time and with a high level of precision. In order to accomplish this, it’s important for manufacturers to be constantly looking for ways to improve processes.

In the past, this was a highly laborious task because it required a certain degree of trial and error in order to find optimal solutions. Today, however, data is leading the way in decision making.

Analytics platforms like ThoughtSpot are helping to revolutionize how manufacturers go about streamlining their operations. Real-time analytics and greater data democratization provide employees insight into how to improve everything from sales analytics to assembly efficiency through better decision making. Having the right analytics tools at your disposal makes it much easier to identify areas ripe for streamlining. Smoother processes allow manufacturers to pass on operational savings to customers and focus on serving them better.

Allowing Greater Levels of Customization

No two clients are going to be exactly the same, and they don’t want to be forced into a box that doesn’t fit them. In order to keep customers happy, it’s important to give them some degree of freedom and customization in their orders.

You’re probably not going to want to completely restructure your operations just to make things slightly better for one customer. However, having customization built into the fabric of your manufacturing process will allow you to keep customers happy.

Keep Competitive Pricing

Pricing is one of the most make-or-break elements when it comes to manufacturing. On massive orders, even a few cents difference here or there can make a huge impact on the final cost. Your customers are keen. They’re going to know if your prices are competitive. It’s important that you take the time to build a pricing model that allows you to entice clients and build market share, without sacrificing profitability.

A business will struggle to flourish if it’s not meeting the demands of its customers. This is just as true in manufacturing as it is in any other kind of organization.

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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.