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Industries in every sector are getting better at using technology to deliver the products and services customers need, more quickly, and painlessly than ever before. Internet and mobile technologies have made it easier to manage your healthcare, finances, and even your relationships. Business-to-business vendors are delivering a huge range of services and solutions that let organizations focus on their core mission, leaving the peripheral stuff to someone else.
Some industries have been slower to change than others, however. Until recently manufacturing was one that held onto old ways of doing things, making it difficult for modern innovators to find a partner that could support the need for low prices, fast turnaround times, and hassle-free vendor management. Fortunately, that inertia has been overcome by a new crop of cloud manufacturing companies that understand how to put the cloud to work for them and their clients.
The manufacturing process that has been in place for decades was designed to support large vendors with huge orders, little need for iteration, and no need for speed. How can you tell if you are talking to manufacturing companies that are part of the old guard? Look for these tell-tale signs:
If you have a headache after just reading that list, you aren’t alone. The old model was not designed to support the needs of Kickstarter creators, small businesses, engineers, or makers. The barriers to entry are too high and can discourage today’s inventors. But don’t give up. You can now find a manufacturing company to partner with that has built a business around the new way that products are brought to market. You can now expect:
It is difficult when progress disrupts an industry. Newspapers, publishers, music companies, television networks, and others have all had to find new ways of meeting their customer’s changing preferences or face extinction.
Manufacturing companies face this same challenge. Certainly some will fail to embrace new ways of serving the needs of hardware designers, but fortunately, enough have recognized the need to evolve. You should have no trouble finding one that will make a fitting partner for your PCB assembly, device manufacturing, inventory management, and fulfillment needs.