Most consumers usually see the end product; they never think about the process it took to turn what they hold in their hands from raw materials to a finished item ready for use. Those involved in manufacturing understand better than anyone else how hard it is to produce and maintain consistency. The following are some of the challenges that manufacturers face in their day-to-day operations.
To ensure demand is met with a consistent flow of supply, production has to run without stopping all day and night. This may be cost-effective, but machines are prone to wear and tear in the long run, and eventually, they will break down. Failure to deal with these repairs in time can bring everything to a complete standstill, and this can lead to massive losses. Repairing machines or upgrading industrial robots requires money and special experts. This eventually bites into profits at the end of the day.
There’s no industry on earth that is exclusive or a manufacturer who is the sole player in their sector. There’s always someone trying to get a share of your market at any given time, and as much as this competition may be useful for the consumers, it can be brutal to a manufacturer. The amount of energy, time, and resources it takes to stave off competition is immense, and there’s never any guarantee that it would work; you may still end up losing even after investing in upgrades.
Safety Rules and Regulations
Every manufacturer is mandated by law to provide a conducive and safe environment for their workers, a workspace that is free from harm. This may sound like a customary undertaking on paper, but on the ground, it can be pretty expensive. You’ll need to install fire exits all over, firefighting equipment, conduct frequent safety drills, and invest in high-quality components like an API 607 ball valve if you are in the chemical and gas industry. All these don’t come cheap, and you’ll need to outsource qualified professionals to help you with implementing most of them, another added cost.
Technology has been a blessing to manufacturing; thanks to the proliferation of industrial robots, there are fewer human accidents, and production has tripled. However, the same technology has come with a host of scary problems. Hacking, for instance. It is now easy for hackers to take control of important machinery and robots at a workplace, and this could lead to sabotage that may cause damages worth millions. It doesn’t matter how many countermeasures are created to deal with this because hackers are always evolving and coming up with new ways of inflicting harm on manufacturers who have automated their production.
Shortage of Skilled Labor
Another huge drawback that comes with relying too much on technology is the gradual decrease in the number of skilled workers. There are some things that cannot be taught in any class, skills that can only be accumulated with experience. With robots taking over most of the production processes, there’s no longer enough time for people to learn anything substantial on the job. Human workers are now limited to dealing with simple and less strenuous work that can be done by just about anyone. As the skilled worker shortage increases, the few people left with these kinds of skills are becoming harder to find and very expensive to hire.
When President Donald Trump started a trade war with China when he took office, many manufacturing businesses in America suffered since most of them outsource their production to Chinese companies where it is much cheaper. These kinds of trade wars started by governments looking to settle old scores always hit manufacturers the hardest, with many of them never recovering again. Trade wars are out of their control, and the best they can do is watch from the sidelines and hope to salvage as much as they can.
2020 statistics show that many businesses in major economies around the world had to fold down as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the globe. As economies shut down in an attempt to control the spread of the virus, many manufacturers were robbed of their workers without whom production would be impossible. Despite loans from governments, many manufacturers have been forced to close down their operations with no hope of reopening insight as the virus continues to blow through the population.
Taxes are ever-increasing for manufacturers. The more they expand, the more the tax responsibilities, and this tends to stifle production in one way or another. While many businesses usually get tax breaks during difficult times to help them stay afloat, many manufacturing companies are generally left to their own devices to figure out things on their own.
Manufacturing requires dedication and a lot of funds just to keep things running. Being huge businesses, they get affected by the slightest changes in global policy or a slight fluctuation of demand. This level of volatility is what makes running a manufacturing company such an extreme sport of some sort. If you harbor plans of one day starting your manufacturing enterprise, you better take your time to come up with a very good plan that will help you maintain your business when the rain starts beating you from all sides.