When you’re a small business owner, the last thing you want to do is spend your time and money on manufacturing processes. But you can’t afford it and you don’t have the time.
What if I told you that there’s a way to cut down on your manufacturing costs without sacrificing quality or increasing your work load?
It’s called “low volume manufacturing.” And it’s exactly what it sounds like: a method for producing low volumes of products at high quality at an affordable price.
Low volume manufacturing uses many of the same principles as just-in-time manufacturing, but with specific adjustments that make it ideal for small businesses with limited budgets and resources.
In fact, according to one study, low volume manufacturing can reduce costs by up to 50%.
Eliminating Tooling Reduces
The most significant difference between high volume and low volume manufacturing comes down to tooling costs. High volume production requires expensive molds and dies for each part, which can be very expensive.
For example, if you need 100 parts with 10 different parts per mold, then you will need 10 molds or dies. The tooling costs alone could be thousands of dollars per part.
In contrast, low volume production uses simple tools like punches and dies that are made from basic materials like low grade steel or aluminum. This eliminates much of the tooling cost associated with large scale manufacturing processes.
However, this also means that there is no room for error when it comes to creating these simple tools because they must be exact every time in order for them to work properly with your product design . These simple tools also cannot be reused and must be replaced after each production run.
This means that the tooling costs are much higher than other manufacturing processes, but it also reduces the overall cost of your product by reducing the need for more expensive tools like molds or dies.
High-Mix, Low Volume Manufacturing
High-mix, low-volume manufacturing is the process of producing a number of products with small variations in design. It’s ideal for small business owners who want to produce a high quantity of different products but don’t have the resources to invest in mass production machinery or large-scale batch production.
Small businesses have unique challenges when it comes to manufacturing their products. They don’t have the resources or capacity that larger companies do, so they often need to come up with creative solutions for their manufacturing needs.
A high-mix low volume (HMLV) manufacturing facility is designed specifically for small businesses who need to produce multiple variations of one product in small quantities at affordable prices.
These facilities are often called job shops because they take on jobs from many different clients at once and perform each task separately without any overlapping. This is a great option for manufacturers that need to produce small batches of many different products, but it’s not the best choice if you want to focus on one product line and scale it up quickly.
Many small businesses produce parts in low volume, but with high-mix. This means that they need to produce a variety of different parts. For example, if you own a car repair shop, you may need to produce hundreds of different types of engine mounts, each with its own unique dimensions.
Just-in-time manufacturing is a key component of lean manufacturing. It’s a strategy that allows manufacturers to reduce costs by reducing inventory levels and waste. The term “just-in-time” was first used by Taiichi Ohno, the father of Toyota Motor Corporation’s manufacturing system known as Lean Manufacturing.
Just-in-time manufacturing focuses on eliminating waste in the production process. Waste can include anything from excess time spent waiting for parts or machines to arrive, to overstocking finished goods that might not sell as quickly as planned.
Just-in-time manufacturing aims to eliminate these issues by having parts delivered exactly when needed rather than keeping large amounts of inventory on hand at all times.
The benefits of just-in-time manufacturing include:
- Reduces waste by eliminating overproduction;
- Improves efficiency by eliminating delays due to waiting for parts or materials;
- Reduces inventory costs by decreasing the amount of materials kept on hand.
Manufacturing Complex Products
Manufacturing complex products such as medical devices, aerospace equipment and other high-tech goods is a complicated affair. These products often require expensive machinery, advanced engineering and a lot of manual labor.
Manufacturers need to carefully manage the flow of materials through their facility, all the way from raw materials in the warehouse to finished products on a pallet bound for distribution centers or customers.
The complexity of these manufacturing processes can make it difficult for small companies to keep up with demand, especially if they don’t have enough employees or space to devote entirely to production.
Many manufacturers choose to outsource low-volume manufacturing because it enables them to focus on their core business while still producing high quality products on time and under budget.
The process involves outsourcing parts of your production process to another company that specializes in low volume production services, such as manufacturing complex products or customizing products to meet specific specifications.
This can help relieve some of the pressure associated with running an efficient manufacturing operation while still maintaining control over quality standards and deadlines.
Moving Manufacturing Closer to the Customer
As the global economy has become increasingly digitized and service-based, the world has become more connected. This means that products can be manufactured in one place, shipped to another and assembled there. The end result is that manufacturing no longer needs to occur in large quantities and at a central location.
Low volume manufacturing offers many benefits for businesses that want to stay competitive in today’s global economy.
You can stay close to your customers. If you are a manufacturer who sells products directly to consumers, then you know how important it is to be close to your customers. You want them to be able to easily reach you with any questions or concerns they might have about your product or service.
Low volume manufacturing allows you to manufacture goods closer to where your customers live so you can better serve them during ongoing customer service interactions as well as during initial sales transactions when they purchase from you for the first time.
You can increase profit margins by cutting costs on inventory storage space. When you manufacture in large quantities and store those goods in inventory warehouses, it becomes necessary for them to be stored at an optimal temperature range so they do not spoil before being sold or used by consumers who need them right away (such as food manufacturers).
Low volume manufacturing is a fairly new field in the manufacturing industry that is all about outsourcing parts, products, and materials to third parties.
This allows your company to focus more on the production aspect while the smaller businesses handle the design and branding of the products. This growing trend will be prevalent in every industry as small businesses look to grow their business by outsourcing to other companies and keeping costs down.
China small volume injection molding
A lot of people hear the words “China” and “molding” in the same sentence and they assume the worst. They think of cheap, low-quality products that are made using substandard manufacturing practices that put the lives of workers at risk.
But that’s not always the case.
China has a long history of producing quality goods for export. In fact, some of the best-made products in the world come from China! And when it comes to plastic injection molding, China is actually one of the most sophisticated countries in the world.
Injection molding is a popular way to manufacture plastic parts and devices. China is a good place to get low volume injection molds made because the cost of labor is much less than in the United States or Europe. Many Chinese manufacturers have minimum order quantities (MOQs) of only 1,000 pieces and lead times as short as 3-4 weeks. This can be extremely helpful for small companies that want to get started with their own product line but don’t want to invest a lot of money in tooling and production costs up front.
So how do you know if you’re dealing with a reliable supplier? You need to look at the details:
- Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – A reputable supplier won’t ask you for a huge order before they’ve even had a chance to meet with you or see your product. Instead, they’ll want to make sure that you’re serious about your project before committing too much time or money into it.
- Lead Time – The best suppliers will have fast lead times so they can deliver your product as quickly as possible (and still meet quality standards). If they can’t give you an exact date on when you can expect your product, then you should probably look for another supplier.
- Price – The price of a product shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when choosing a supplier; however, making sure that they’re not trying to rip you off is important. A good rule of thumb is to compare prices with other suppliers and make sure they’re comparable before signing any contracts.