The trick of a successful craft business lies in combining your creative concept with efficient production.
When you made samples of your product, you already touched on some of the production needs, but more planning is needed to make sure you can constantly improve your process, save time, ensure high quality and avoid costly mistakes.
Here are a few tips that will help you with staying on top of your production.
- Create logical steps: Break down your production process into logical steps. Time how many minutes each step in the production process takes. A flow-chart can help a lot with this.
- Optimise work areas: Look at each work area and plan it carefully. Consider how things could be arranged to create a better working environment where production can happen even more efficiently.
- Assign production roles: If you work with a number of producers, identify their strengths and special skills and get people to do what they are good at. Don’t be scared to demand a high standard of work. Provide a sample of the product and a check-list of what to look for when monitoring the quality of their production. Make sure all producers understand the full process, even if they are only producing a section of the product.
- Choose the appropriate method: Don’t assume that division of labour and production lines are the way to go. Mechanistic assembling of the product can work against its value for the buyer. Sometimes having one person per product can retain that value. It can also work to motivate the producer and be more cost-effective.
- Take care of health and safety: The basics of health and safety are to have a first aid box, a fire extinguisher and proper ventilation. Make sure all areas where people are working are suitable for the work being done. Understand any special safety precautions necessary for working with the materials you use for your product. Make protective gear like gloves or masks available, and make sure that protective gear is correctly and consistently used by producers.
- Identify quality measures: Quality control is to make sure that even if many units are produced, your product retains the same high value and function. Once you have a sample of your product, you will need a list of items that define its quality. The list will include things that make sure your product performs the function it is designed for. It will also include things that will satisfy your customers’ needs in the long term.
- Control the quality: Quality control is a set routine to make sure your product meets all the quality criteria. With any production process, mistakes can happen. As well as working regularly with your list of quality criteria, you also need to create a production environment that enables everyone involved to work at their best. If you are having consistent quality issues, brainstorm possible solutions and come up with an action plan to put the solutions into practice.