As the design and manufacturing industry continues to experience welcomed changes, product lifespan, manufacturing cycle and turnaround times have become greatly reduced. Year on year, manufacturers continue to push out several updates and versions of new and existing brands, promising exciting upgrades that almost immediately crash the demand for previous versions. This has consequently led to fewer and fewer mass production and more consideration for low-volume manufacturing.
What is Low-Volume Manufacturing?
While definitions may differ from supplier to supplier, low-volume manufacturing typically refers to the production of 10,000 parts or fewer in a single run. This number is dependent on a number of factors including the brand, the product, the target market and the supplier.
The benefits of low-volume manufacturing are extensive. Most designers and product engineers often believe that when running production cycles below mass production volumes, the business may not be profitable. This is not always the case. In fact, producing lesser units of your part may benefit your business as growing trends in the industry suggests that product lifespans are becoming shorter and on-demand low-volume manufacturing can save significant running costs.
What are the benefits of Low-Volume manufacturing for your business?
• Cost Savings
Low-volume manufacturing may range from 100 to 10000 units of production parts. This volume of products will usually be affordable for even the smallest businesses in the industry. Low-volume manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and CNC milling can help designers to cut the cost associated with general overheads in mass production, and also offers flexibility, allowing for simple changes in design to be made without forfeiting huge investments.
Most mass production factories usually have a minimum order quantity. This is the quantity below which they won’t run your production at a profitable margin. Low-volume manufacturing helps most emerging businesses to manage their budget, ensuring that avoidable costs are not incurred on the general overheads that mass production will demand. With low-volume manufacturing, there will be lower labor demands, lesser power consumption and significantly lesser material waste.
Most mass production techniques will require the production of tools, molds and dyes that can take days and weeks to become ready; these molds and tools are also very expensive to produce and correct should the need for correction arise.
• Gives start-up businesses faster entry into markets
Low-volume production has helped many businesses level the playing field as it offers a route to quick market entry. Low-volume manufacturing can help start-ups quickly deploy their products into emerging markets to drive trial and steal market share early. Without low-volume manufacturing techniques, many small and medium businesses may not stand a chance in emerging markets.
• Bridge production
Low-volume manufacturing can have immense benefits even for established businesses. In times where quick manufacturing is required to bridge supply deficit, low-volume techniques are commonly used to meet up with production needs and shorten the time to make quick delivery.
Today, low-volume manufacturing can be employed to meet tight timelines and stringent budgets using cost-effective techniques such as 3D printing and CNC machining. Many businesses can benefit from the efficiency and cost-advantage that low-volume manufacturing offers.
As cost and turnaround will remain essential to determining the success or failure of a product, it is important for businesses to consider feasible alternatives to mass manufacture. We have already outlined the benefits of low-volume production for both small, medium and established businesses. In our next blog post, we will discuss the steps to effectively accomplish a low-volume production run.
Premium Part Low-volume Manufacturing Services in China
At Premium Part, we offer high-quality 3D printing, injection molding, aluminum extrusion, urethane casting and CNC machining services that are optimized for the production of many precision parts. Our expertise range across a number of services and we can generate exceptional quality products with a quick turnaround. We can work with an extensive range of materials and produce both mass manufacture volumes and low-volume manufacturing. From CNC machining to 3D printing and rapid injection molding, our engineers are highly experienced to deliver best-in-class manufacturing quality and standards.