I have visited many factories in the food manufacturing industry and electrical equipment factories. For three years I worked in a food plant that manufactured cooking oil, dogfood and peanut butter.
When a factory is not doing well it’s a morbid place. But when customer orders are flowing in fast a factory can be exciting. Employees look more alive. Overtime work needs to happen just to keep up with the business coming in.
Starting and running a small manufacturing business is not the first choice for entrepreneurs because of the complexity of the business, the capital required and dealing with labour. Workers with specialised skills may be required.
Before you take the leap into small manufacturing you have to be clear about what really drives you. Are you a developer or a producer? If you’ve created a new product, you may want to have full control over its manufacture. But you may also want to concentrate on product development, marketing and selling and leave manufacturing to a trustworthy producer.
If you run a manufacturing business of any size, you will need to limit your liability and protect your assets. You also need to take all steps necessary to protect your workers and your customers. This includes complying with OSAS/OSHA, keeping the workplace safe, taking out workers compensation insurance and minimising the risk of product liability.
Preventing harm to your employees involves growing a safety culture. Everyone needs to take a leadership role in health and safety – from you as the business owner to your managers and employees on the shop floor. Having a health and safety management system in place is a necessary step if your manufacturing business is of any reasonable size. But a safety culture means everyone employed by you is involved in health and safety.
An Australian start-up has seen a gap to improve workplace health and safety. SafetyCulture has launched an app and associated products. The app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and has more than 25,000 active daily users. Since 2011 over 6 million workplace health and safety inspections have been logged.
The amazing thing is that this enterprise software solution is being driven by workers who want to be safe at work. They are convincing their management to embrace it, co-founder and chief executive Luke Anear told Start-upSmart.
Workers safety can sometimes be a low ranking priority to factory owners and managers although they will protest otherwise. But now through innovation, technology and sharp entrepreneurs, workplace safety is set to be made more accessible, fun and important to smart businesses.