For furniture manufacturers, the term 'Innovation' should not just be associated with product creativity, but also how internal processes can be transformed to be more effective and contribute to business growth. Here are some examples of what innovation could look like:
Evaluating your processes
If your methods and processes are not working like they use too; like an increase of manufacturing waste or tasks are taking longer, it's time for a change. Processes should be review regularly and improved to ensure maximum efficiency.
Traditional paper-based, time-consuming or manual processes can be more efficient using technology. For example, within ERP software, you'll be able to raise a sales order and generate a bill of materials directly from it - saving time and minimises the risk of incorrect data re-entry.
Review your current product line
If your current products are not selling as well as you may have hoped, it may be time to update or diversify your range to appeal to a wider market. To stay on top form against industry competitors, you will need to keep up with latest demands because consumer trends will change, especially when it comes to interiors.
So regularly review your sales history, pricing and customer satisfaction levels to see if you can spot trends, opportunities or identify issues. After you have this information, it may just take minor changes to increase your sales.
Get help and network
There may be times when you become stuck about how to grow your business. Getting help and advice from a range of stakeholders like employees, managers and suppliers on top of market research, can lead to a great collaboration of ideas and may open your eyes to something new.
Also, sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know. Network with customers, business partners, industry advisors and potential clients could stand you in good stead to innovate within your business because ideas can be shared and gained.
Marketing is crucial when you are aiming to grow your business. There are a variety of marketing tools and methods available such as social media, direct marketing, adverts, PR, product placement, events and trade shows, but not all of them will be suitable for your brand or target audience. So always consider carefully what benefits your chosen marketing method will provide and whether it will help you attract your target audience.
Work with dissatisfied customers
It is natural to concentrate on the positive aspects and what's going well, but sometimes focusing on the negatives within the business is required to make the necessary improvements. There needs to be a system in place so dissatisfaction levels can be tracked and monitored. By making adjustments in correlation with dissatisfaction trends can lead to product or services improvements for everyone. The complaints process also need to be handled correctly to ensure customer retention.
For any business, it is important to minimise risks. For furniture manufacturers risk, can come in many forms some such as poor cash flow, unreliable suppliers and excessive waste. You should never underestimate the impact one department may have on another. For example, excessive stock due to poor warehouse management can tie up capital, inaccurate inventory levels can lead to not meeting customer expectations and poor communication can impact customer retention. Therefore, investment into specialised software can lessen these risk within the business.
Establish new partnerships
It may be worth looking into partnerships to help develop your furniture brand. The phrase 'two heads are better than one' is extremely relevant in this situation, as your potential partner can work with you to enhance development. Partnerships can come in many types like supplier relationships, key customers, industry associations and even competitors. Resources and expertise can be shared, as well as allowing your brand to be open to a larger following.