Custom-made products are catching on in a big way. Modern technology allows small-scale factories to see profit with even small production runs and to create custom products without purchasing new equipment or resetting everything on the production floor. Suddenly, small water bottle manufacturers can let customers design their own bottles, customizing everything from the pattern, size, and even shape. With the right software and equipment, a modern factory can create a million unique items without having to charge more or even spend extra time creating them.
Large-scale operations are getting into the game too. Nike now lets customers create custom-looking sneakers and will even create custom soles to better fit your feet. Automakers are letting customers pick and choose from a variety of features and add-ons. And this trend just keeps growing.
This type of customization wasn’t possible twenty years ago, but things are changing quickly. Factories are more connected than ever. Wired manufacturing devices enable factories to have much more control over their equipment, while mobile technology, the Internet, and cloud computing bring that wired technology to the masses. Factory owners can modify their equipment from across the world, designers can set new specifications on the fly, and consumers can use a website to submit their custom orders straight to the equipment that will build them.
3D printing technology is playing a big part in this revolution too. Not that long ago, a plastics manufacturers had to create custom molds for every product. That took time and could be very expensive, meaning a single mold had to be used hundreds, even thousands of times to become a profitable customization. Today, using 3D printing technologies, designers can introduce endless customization, without adding to the cost. Plants can quickly change parts and enhance existing equipment using 3D printing technology as well.
Transition at Your Own Pace
Hopefully your factory has already started to embrace new technology. The transition won’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t have to. Small factories are popping up all the time, using these new technologies to fulfill small, custom orders. And they’re turning profits.
Larger, established factories can easily follow this same model. There’s no reason to run out and replace everything. Instead, keep fulfilling large orders on your existing equipment, but start adding new equipment too. This will allow you to take on some of those smaller projects and use the new technology to generate new revenue sources. As you build that side of your business up, you can gradually incorporate the new technology into your existing equipment.
As you begin to introduce customization into your factory, Madden Industrial Craftsmen can help. We provide training for our candidates to prepare them for the changing manufacturing environment, and we can help you find employees ready to tackle the new and exciting challenges you’re about to face. Contact our great team today to work with a leader in industrial staffing in Portland and the Pacific Northwest.