Growing your CNC shop or business does not come with a set of instructions. It’s different for large organisations like ProtoLabs with huge resources that allow for quick responses to changes in consumer behaviour and new developments in the market. However, if you have a CNC machine shop then your growth plans will need to take their own unique course. To give you a good start and provide some food for thought, we’ve compiled some quick tips that will lead you to greater growth and development.
Be open to diversification
Diversification can often mean new investments in capabilities, and often these investments can provide a good return. Look at patterns in behaviour from your customers and competitors – is there a new product trend other businesses are providing for that you could too by diversifying your services a little? Are there new product opportunities you could feasibly produce with your existing machinery and capabilities?
Be mindful of new technology
Although adopting new technology can be a costly exercise resulting in the retraining of both yourself and other people to operate new machinery, it can pay off long-term if you make the right choice. The resultant effect is often because production times are sped up or simplified as a result, or new capabilities are enabled. Wise technology investments can mean you are now more competitive than you were before and are able to offer something new to your customer base.
If you want to grow your CNC shop, it’s not just a matter of changing machinery, growing also comes down to assessing whether or not your current facilities are flexible enough for growth. If it is not possible due to the absence of suitable facilities in your location, or lack of funding available, then off-site warehousing could be an option to allow for increased production. This is usually less expensive than a full relocation.
If you are at the early stages of growth, then teaming up with fellow CNC businesses can help. Although it may feel counterintuitive, these partnerships can help if you want to up your game in terms of production volume. For example, if you currently don’t have the capacity for a new project, then utilising the equipment of a trusted partner can benefit you, and them. It can be particularly beneficial if you operate in different market segment, which takes us to the next point…
Focus on certain market segments
By segmenting your market (for example, perhaps you produce specific replacement parts for a certain brand) and focussing on niche areas, you will have a greater opportunity to grow in that particular area. Customers are likely to see you as specialists, and if you have delivered a good service, it’s probably they will return knowing that you understand their market and are reliable.
Provide an added-value approach for customers
Whatever your other growth plans are, there’s usually room to add further value for customers somewhere along the production line. Each step of CNC machining provides an avenue for added value. This could be sandblasting materials, painting, plating, polishing, or pouring castings depending on the needs of the customer. This can be a real bonus for customers who may now have an additional factor or element to offer end-users. Always consider what your customers’ customers will want and it becomes clearer where there are added value opportunities in your own production.
Don’t hurry for expansion
When you want to grow your CNC shop or business, it’s tempting to race ahead with lots of different ideas. Take your time considering new routes to growth success though as rushing can result in purchasing the wrong type of machinery that doesn’t benefit you, or investing in new facilities too soon. Making small but positive gains will build your confidence, and profit margins are likely to be bigger from the start, allowing more opportunity for long-term investment plans.
Whether you are starting from scratch or entering a new phase in the development of your CNC business, taking note of these proven growth tips will stand you in good stead for the future and provide inspiration for more advanced and detailed growth strategies.