How to make working from home work for your manufacturing business
Speaking with lots of businesses in the manufacturing industry, it’s become clear that while many warehouses are not operating during the current time, some parts of the team are able to work remotely, like sales and marketing.
It’s likely that social distancing will become the new normal for a period of time, and many employers will be asked to stagger their working hours.
With that in mind, it’s really important for manufacturers to have the right systems in place so their business processes can be as normal as possible going forward, and so they can work as efficiently as possible should there be a bounce when the economy starts picking up again.
In this article, we are going to highlight three ways to ensure that remote working and social distancing work for your manufacturing business.
1) Implementing more collaborative software:
In many cases, we’ve found that manufacturers are using spreadsheets or paper to manually track their sales and other processes.
In the current situation, it’s likely that your sales staff will either be working from home or on furlough.
Remote working while using office-based spreadsheets or paper will be hard to track, and this might cause issues- either between sales staff or between the sales team and the warehouse.
To avoid these issues, we recommend implementing software which allows you to collaborate across your workforce.
You should start with a simple cloud-based spreadsheet like Google Sheets to understand your initial requirements, but in the long run a custom piece of software will serve you better and will help improve the productivity of your business.
2) Don’t assume you ‘just need a CRM’:
From our conversations with many manufacturers, many understand the importance of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, but may be using a mix of different pieces of software- with the majority of these having been built as generic tools for lots of different small businesses.
Usually only around 40%-50% of the features of these generic pieces of software will actually be used by the business, so many businesses end up with features that they either don’t need but are still paying for or worse- features that confuse the rest of the processes.
In this case, we would recommend you build out your workflow to understand what kind of software you actually need to use.
If you struggle with this, please get in touch with us so we can help you through this process.
3) Get started with organising an inventory:
While most of your team are working from home or on furlough, this presents an opportunity for you to organise a proper inventory, or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), system of products in your warehouse.
As we looked at earlier, you can start simply by organising a spreadsheet to track the information. This will help you to identify any other information that you need to be tracking.