Why the U.S. Is Looking More Attractive to Manufacturers (Infographic)

I recently found the following infographic comparing the cost of manufacturing products in China to the cost of manufacturing in the United States. It turns out that the difference has been shrinking for the last few years because of a number of factors.

This is good news for manufacturers in the U.S. as well as many other countries, including Mexico, India, and Vietnam, which have lower average manufacturing costs than China.

I’ll let the infographic do most of the talking. It’s nice to hear good news like this:

Pepperdine University Online

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How to Devote More Time to What Really Matters in Business

Business leaders have a lot to worry about every day. It’s easy to let little things sidetrack you and take you away from the core areas of your business where you would do best to focus, such as selling your products, making them better, and improving customer service.

Inventory management software lets you devote more time to core areas of your business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogInventory management is one area of business that can easily bog down even the best business leader if they’re not careful. You don’t want to let it take you away from your core competency, and you don’t have to as long as you have the right tools.

Advanced inventory management software will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders by:

  • Empowering employees to place orders, receive shipments, and perform other inventory tasks
  • Automating the reorder process, so you don’t have to do everything by hand
  • Generating reports that show demand trends, areas for improvement, and many other useful data points
  • Always having up-to-date information when you need it on product quantities, locations, shipments en route, and more
  • Allowing you to use barcode scanners and other tools to increase the speed and accuracy of your inventory management

And these are just some of the ways inventory management software helps. Learn more about what it can do for your business by clicking the link above.

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What Is Missing in Your Business?

Is your business struggling to grow right now, but you’re not sure why? You have popular products, you’ve hired talented employees to help you, and you’re getting the word out through marketing, but still you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for.

What is preventing your business from running at full capacity? QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogSomething Missing

Perhaps something is missing – something that could dramatically boost your efficiency, cut costs, and improve your ability to meet customers’ expectations.

What is this missing link? It might just be inventory management software.

Make Sure Nothing Is Missing

Inventory management software helps you make sure nothing is missing in your inventory.

It helps you have the ideal number of products on your shelves. If you keep too many products in stock, you wind up tying a lot of capital up in inventory and running the risk of spoilage and damage. If you keep too few, you risk disappointing customers and losing sales.

With inventory tracking features, you can quickly find items and prevent them from getting lost.

You can also set up automatic reorder points on all of your parts and products so that you’ll be able to keep the right number flowing into your warehouse(s) to cover the items that are flowing out.

Don’t Miss Out

Stop missing out on the benefits of inventory management software. You can fill the needs of your business and customers by using software that allows you to keep a close eye on everything going on with your inventory.

Sign up for a Web demo to see how inventory management software can help your business.

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The Importance of Communication in Supply Chain Management

Someone recently told me about a horrible experience they had with a supplier. They had ordered a large number of items to be put in a large container and shipped across the ocean from China.

Communication is an important part of having a healthy supply chain, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogHowever, the supplier discovered that all of the items wouldn’t fit in the container they had agreed upon. Instead of alerting their customer to this problem, they simply indiscriminately removed a large number of products and did not ship them at all without giving any warning of what they had done.

Fast forward a little while and when the container was finally delivered to the customer, they discovered that many badly needed supplies were missing. This meant that they had to disappoint their own customers who had been waiting for them.

This bad situation could have been resolved before it ballooned into a major problem if the supplier had just called, texted, or emailed their client. If there was no way to get another container, the customer could have at least worked with the supplier to prioritize the most important items they needed to get as soon as possible.

Communication Is Key

The need for communication in supply chain management cannot be overstated. If a shipment is delayed, unfulfilled, or otherwise disrupted, it’s up to the supplier to inform the company they are supposed to ship to that there is a problem. This might be painful at first and it could even cost a customer or two because of their disappointment. But over time, this kind of honesty and communication builds credibility and trust.

If a supplier spends more time worrying about getting blamed for delays than they do solving the problems that cause those delays, they’re more likely to keep upsetting customers and making customers wary of doing business with them.

But if a supplier keeps their customers in the loop about their processes, they can work together to come up with a solution when something unexpected comes up. Admitting mistakes is never easy. In fact, it can be quite painful. But there’s no other way to enjoy long-term success.

Monitoring Suppliers’ Performance

You can use inventory tracking software to monitor your relationships with each of your suppliers. If you notice a pattern of late shipments, unfulfilled orders, or short items, you can give those suppliers warnings or find new suppliers, if they don’t change their ways.

Relationships are important when doing business. Your customers need to trust you in order to want to buy your products or services, and you must trust your suppliers in order to continue getting parts and products from them. If there are weak links in your supply chains, you can work to fix them with or without your suppliers’ help, but it’s better if you can work together in a mutually beneficial way.

Open communication facilitates relationship building. Keep the channels of communication open between you and your customers and suppliers so that you can prevent misunderstandings and disappointments from creeping in.

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Engaging Your Employees Might Just Save Your Business

Companies don’t need to wait for a stimulus from the government to pull this country out of the economic doldrums. They have plenty of untapped power hidden within them that they could use to raise themselves up if they only knew how to unlock it.

Engaging your employees can yield hugely positive results for your business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogWhat is this untapped power? Unengaged employees.

According to a 2013 Gallup poll, the U.S. economy could be generating $450 billion to $550 billion more every year if its workers were all engaged and fully committed to their jobs.

What keeps employees from being engaged? It can be many things:

  • Poor managers
  • Overly negative corporate culture
  • A lack of focus on employees’ positive contributions
  • Excessive hours required on the job

Seventy percent of American employees are unengaged at work, according to Gallup. If we could get that number close to zero, employees and businesses would likely enjoy lower healthcare costs, better overall health and wellbeing, fewer absences and injuries, less job turnover, and higher productivity.

We could go from tepid to explosive growth if employees were fully engaged and motivated to do their best at work. You can’t control what other businesses do, but you can control what you do in your own business.

If you want to rise above the competition, unlock your workers’ hidden talents by:

  • Choosing managers by their abilities instead of seniority
  • Offering positive reinforcement of good behavior rather than just punishing bad behavior
  • Showing employees you appreciate what they do
  • Being flexible with employees’ schedules

Don’t wait for the economy to improve. Make it happen by changing the way you do business.

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10 Game-Changing Manufacturing Tactics

Manufacturers can bring their business practices to a whole new level with manufacturing inventory software. Here are 10 game-changing manufacturing tactics you can use with the right software:

Manufacturing game changers, QuickBooks Manufacturing Blog1. Automatically track shipments and send customers emails with the estimated time of arrival for their packages

2. Monitor production processes to find areas for improvement, such as wasted materials and slowdowns

3. Update inventory numbers in real time so you always know what you have in stock

4. Map out your warehouses(s) so you know exactly where each part and product is, down to the shelf and bin

5. Use handheld devices to scan inventory in and out of your warehouse, helping you avoid data-entry errors

6. Know the condition of your products at each stage of the production process

7. Standardize your receiving, ordering, picking, packing, and shipping operations to increase efficiency and effectiveness of employees

8. Integrate your inventory and accounting software to eliminate double data entry and make sure your records all match up

9. Set up automatic reorder points on all of your parts and products to keep them from running out

10. Use multilevel work orders and bills of materials on jobs that require several steps to complete

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Achieving Green Inventory Management

A business that makes the best use of its resources is saving a lot more than just money. There are only so many resources to go around, so it’s a good idea to have as much efficiency as possible to prevent waste. That’s what wise stewards do.

Achieve green inventory management for a healthier business, QuickBooks Manufacturing BlogWhat can you do to achieve green inventory management? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use inventory tracking software to automate ordering and receiving processes
  • Train as many of your employees as possible on how to use inventory-related hardware and software so they can help keep the business running smoothly
  • Use a Just in Time (JIT) model to get just the right amount of parts and materials in stock when you need them
  • Study your customers’ buying trends to plan for surges and declines in sales so you don’t keep a huge safety stock all the time
  • Work with local vendors to reduce wait times for new orders to arrive
  • Make the best use of your warehouse space by putting popular items close to the receiving door and grouping similar items together

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are plenty of other things you can do to improve your company’s efficiency and save money and resources. But these serve as a good starting point.

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