Thinking Outside the Box by the Manufacturing Growth Programme

The Manufacturing Growth Programme can help your business to improve and become more efficient in many different ways. Their team of expert Manufacturing Growth Managers have spent thousands of hours with real manufacturers across the country – they like to think outside the box.

Here are some of their thoughts on current issues in manufacturing…


  • It’s a good idea for those companies who don’t class themselves as a company that lean applies to, go and understand what lean is and how it applies to you. Not all companies believe that lean is appropriate for them. It is highly advisable that such companies fully understand lean and the real benefits that can be realized.

New Products or Markets

  • Make sure the production element of any new product is considered at the concept stage. The earlier you think about how the product is going to be made, the easier, quicker and cheaper it will be to manufacture.


  • If you’re struggling with capacity, have a good look around the business. Are your processes as efficient as they could be? Are your employees wasting valuable time looking for tools and equipment, waiting for a part or waiting for information? How good is your scheduling and do you have lots of ‘queue jumping’? Adoption of Lean can often free up much needed capacity and postpone the need to expand or move premises.

Sales & Marketing

  • Sales and marketing are the front facing aspect of your business and it is important to develop your brand and protect it. Your brand is essential to acquiring new customers.


  • Certification can help to improve processes, make them more consistent and almost always save money. They can also help to improve morale, so long as employees are properly engaged.


  • You cannot patent a product if it has hit the public domain. Often people advertise their product on YouTube or other social media platforms to showcase the product to start selling it. By this time, it is too late.


  • Design is worth investment as poor design will cost companies dearly later on.


New Equipment

  • Try to complete a ‘URS’ (User Requirement Specification) beforehand if you are looking for a non-off the shelf purchase.


  • Longer term an organisation should try to integrate environmental factors into its actions and decisions and not consider only as an after thought.

Final Thoughts

  • Spend some time with your customers, following how your product/service is used and talk to the people who physically interact with it (e.g. assembly operators).
  • Spend time with your suppliers – see how they deal with one of your orders. Is the way you do things creating unnecessary problems for them? What can you learn from each other? What improvements can be made?
  • Get someone independent from your business to act as a sounding board and to challenge existing assumptions. Your Manufacturing Growth Manager (MGM) can help, we are independent, impartial and trusted by many MDs of manufacturing businesses.

If you are looking to make improvements to your business, grants* of up to 35% of the cost of an improvement project are available to help drive business growth.

If you’d like more advice on growing your business you can speak to your local MGM on 01664 501301 or email

*Grants are subject to eligibility rules.

To find out more visit, call 01664 501301 or follow @MfgGrowthP on Twitter.


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