Let’s face it, manufacturing doesn’t have a huge reputation for creativity. But maybe it should. As a matter of fact, some of the biggest innovations and most creative minds have played a huge role in the history of manufacturing. The story of Henry Ford revolutionizing the manufacturing industry by creating the assembly line is legendary. Quirky, a New York City company founded by 26-year-old CEO Ben Kaufman, is a manufacturing company that relies entirely on creative ideas from other people. The company’s main objective is to take away all the barriers to terrific product ideas and make those products a reality. Its most successful product thus far is the Pivot Power, a pivoting power strip designed by an 18-year-old with an idea.
But Quirky isn’t the only manufacturing company who can operate on terrific ideas. Manufacturers require a steady stream of good ideas to stay viable in this rapidly changing economy.
But where do the great ideas come from? That’s where your employees come in.
- Hire people who aren’t afraid to ask why. “We’ve always done it this way,” just isn’t a terrific reason to keep doing the same thing. The world is changing faster than at any time in history. According to Pearson, a British education company, in this century, it will take China and India only 15 years to double their GDP. It took Britain 150 years in the 19th That’s rapid change. It makes sense that manufacturers need to be nimble to make adjustments for faster, more efficient production, better products and more product innovation.
- Hire people willing to take risks…and be sure management is willing to take risks, too. Sometimes, it’s a little scary to put your neck on the line for a new product or a streamlined production process, especially when other products are selling well or the traditional process works seamlessly. But without risk, there can be no reward. Sure, you might try something new and it may fail miserably. But you may try it and it may catapult to the top of your profit margin spreadsheets.
- Hire people who have ideas. Ideas are the impetus for change…and growth. Create an environment of idea cultivation. Encourage everyone from administrative staff to accountants to engineers to the production team to continually innovate. Innovation can happen on every level of your manufacturing process.
Foster an environment where creativity is encouraged. Manufacturing is a cornerstone of our economy and it is vital that we continue to innovate along every channel. What’s your next Big Idea?