How Would You Start a Manufacturing Business Now?

Every new business needs an idea, or at least an opportunity, to get things rolling. And these days, during the supply chain crisis, there are plenty of opportunities that abound. Rather than trying to come up with a new product and convincing people that they want it, you could become wildly successful by giving people something they need desperately via your own manufacturing business.

With the right equipment and know-how, you could make anything that other companies need and haven’t been able to find until you came along.

This doesn’t even have to be for the business-to-consumer (B2C) market. You can build an entire corporation out of supplying to the business-to-business (B2B) market, just offering certain parts that different companies in the same industry might need.

For example, a company may need a certain kind of mounting bracket to install their machines. But they may not have the capabilities to make the bracket in question, and they always ordered them from China or Vietnam in the past.

But if you could get your hands on a 30-year-old hydraulic press and the right type of steel, you could be stamping out those brackets in no time. There’s an opportunity, and you would have the machine and know-how to capitalize on it. The brackets can be made to order, shipping will cost the buyer a whole lot less than having it sent from overseas, and if your customer is close by, there are no supply chain issues with international shipping.

Or if another manufacturing facility needed a specialty part, you could fill those orders with a few 3D printers that produce those products made to spec.

If I wanted to take the plastics industry by storm, I would be checking the Plastics Industry Association for names of companies and find out if they have material or parts shortages. I can guarantee they’re all having material shortages — not just raw materials, but components they buy elsewhere, especially overseas. I would look for ways to start filling those orders with my own machines.

In the automotive and computing industry, they can’t get chips for cars or laptops. If you could 3D print a chip, your company could make a fortune. Are there chip makers in the United States? Very few, and they’re all being pushed to the limit in filling orders for a number of different companies.

(This is one of the problems with using overseas manufacturing for critical components. There’s a reliability factor to contend with. It’s fine when everything runs smoothly, but as we’ve seen for the last two Christmas shopping holidays, everything is not running smoothly.)

Does this mean that some plucky entrepreneur with a 3D printer and a dream could start a computer chip business? Not really, it takes specialized equipment and knowledge. But those U.S.-based chip manufacturers could use this opportunity to expand their footprint and start taking market share back from the overseas manufacturers.

How to find other opportunities for business?

With a 3D industrial printer, you could get into the manufacturing business.First of all, just start calling on the companies you think you can help and ask them. Speak to their engineers and their production people. Find out what they need and then work on getting it or getting the machines and materials to make it.

Pick up a local business journal or newspaper and read about the companies and their own shortages. They’ll tell you what they’re looking for and you can call them and say, “I know what you need and I know where you can get it.”

Networking groups on LinkedIn are another great place to look because you can find possible customers from all over the country or even the world. It’s all a matter of finding the watering holes where they gather, setting up some listening posts to notify you of certain keywords being used on social media, and then being able to provide the items that they need.

This is a great time to get into the B2B manufacturing industry, providing parts and components for other manufacturers that they are scrambling to find. You can become a reliable supplier and fill a niche that sees you working and growing for years to come.

I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business, including pivoting within their industry. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Photo credit: Creil91 (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

Author: David Marshall
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.