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Write Your Business Plan

How to Write an Operations Plan for Manufacturers If your company makes things, you'll want to detail the manufacturing production process.

By Eric Butow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 9 / 12 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 5: Organizing Operations and Finances series.

Companies that make things have certain characteristics that set them apart from others, including retailers and service firms. They take raw materials and labor and transform them into sellable products. Although they may also distribute the products and sell directly to customers (thus involving the retail and service aspects of operations), most manufacturers concentrate on the production end and farm out the retail and service to other firms.

Process Points

The lead actor in manufacturing is the process of production. Product development, marketing, and distribution play essential roles, but the production process sets manufacturers apart from all other enterprises. And the better your production process, the better a manufacturer you will be. It's the star that leads to your company's success.

Related: How to Write an Operations Plan for Retail and Sales Businesses

A manufacturing production process consists of several components. One step is usually fabrication, or the making of products from raw materials. There is also assembly of components, testing, and inspection of finished goods.

Manufacturing processes can become highly detailed, as is the case with the many parts found in mobile technology. If you're an operations-minded entrepreneur, you may revel in these details. But control your enthusiasm for such details when writing a business plan. Stick to the critical processes that are essential to your production or give you a unique competitive advantage.

These include:

The following manufacturing company checklist might help organize your company's operation details.

  • Marketing plan completed
  • Staffing completed (or staffing plan completed)
  • Organization chart completed
  • Product plan completed
  • Basic manufacturing operations listed in sequence
  • Raw materials purchased
  • Equipment obtained
  • Labor skills available and assigned
  • Timelines and deadlines assigned
  • Potential roadblocks identified
  • Managerial controls in place
  • Sales policies reviewed
  • Customer relations policies outlined
  • Service delivery policies developed
  • Administering monitoring and control policies
  • Follow-up procedures checked

Your checklist will most likely differ depending on your business. A small contractor, for example, makes things but is less complex, so might have a checklist like this:

  • Develop work schedule
  • Hire labor
  • Set up equipment
  • Acquire necessary materials
  • Monitor work schedule

Be sure to tailor your checklist to your business's requirements.

Related: What Equipment and Facilities to Include in Your Business Plan

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