A little while ago, we looked at some of the most important things to think about when you start up an engineering firm. But what happens when you launch and want to start growing? Unfortunately, the hard work has only just begun. There are numerous issues that engineering firms face, and they can make the difference between success and failure. Let’s take a look at some of those problems right away.
1. Hiring Skilled Workers
When you start up an engineering company, you will spend a long time finding the right people for your executive team. But the trouble starts when you decide you need to grow. All engineering firms struggle to fill their vacancies because demand is far greater than supply. There simply aren’t enough people graduating with engineering degrees to fill all those jobs. And, many of those graduates who do have engineering are missing the specialised skills that are required for the job.
So what is the solution? Your best bet is to find a local university and build links with them. Offer work placements and experience to their students. You will be able to create early-stage relationships with them. While engineering graduates are few and far between, you should try your hardest to meet them at the earliest stage possible.
2. Supplier Relations
Supplier relationships can be tricky to manage when you are in engineering, particularly in fields such as oil and gas, and aerospace. There is one common issue that always crops up. Getting hold of the equipment you need to produce your product, as and when you need it. As every product is different, it isn’t likely that you will get away with using an off-the-shelf piece of equipment.
Instead, you might need to have a custom design for your production line. You might have a sizing issue with cutters, for example. Or you could need a specially-made hot oil vaporizer coil. When you are starting out, it usually isn’t a problem. But, if you want to grow, you could run into timing troubles. It’s important, then, to build a relationship with your suppliers, so they understand what you need – and exactly when you need it. With this in mind, you should also look carefully at your inventory control and understand where you can improve your processes.
3. Intellectual Property
When you decide that you want to grow a little bigger, you will usually make a lot of noise about it. And that means there will be a lot more focus on you and your product. Other firms may sit up and take notice, and have eyes on your success. That’s great if they want to invest their money in you. But what if they don’t want to pay?
Industrial espionage is a very real thing, and it has caused havoc in the engineering industry in the past. Think about the long battles over patents that Apple and Samsung went through a couple of years ago. So, get your patents in place and speak to your lawyer about intellectual property. Should anyone decide to steal your idea, at least you will have the protection you need.
Hope this has helped – let us know if you have any other issues with your engineering projects. Good luck!