What is On-Demand Manufacturing & Why Should You Care?
Over the last few years, there has been a shift in the way new products are brought to market. Cloud-based technology has opened the door for new ideas to come to fruition without the involvement of major corporations. This new approach to innovation has fueled the need for a better production option for startups and small businesses: On-demand Manufacturing.
What is On-Demand Manufacturing?
Before defining on-demand manufacturing, it’s helpful to describe the traditional manufacturing process that it replaces. Until recently, product developers had to try to navigate a manufacturing system that was developed to support the needs of gigantic businesses. In this model, quotes are delivered by email or over the phone, most manufacturers are located overseas, there are enormous minimum quantities (or expensive penalties for small orders), and lead times are long.
By contrast, on-demand manufacturing, sometimes called cloud manufacturing, is a new business model that makes it possible for vendors to provide support for the production of electronic devices all the way from the PCB assembly of a single prototype through final product delivery to the customer. This is achieved using a cloud-based software platform that makes it easy for developers to get instant quotes, manage projects, and track inventory from any browser, anytime.
MacroFab offers on-demand manufacturing and leverages technology to package many small orders together, keeping costs down for everyone and eliminating the need for minimum order quantities.
Why is On-Demand Manufacturing Advantageous?
There are a number of benefits to the on-demand approach for both PCB prototypes and fully assembled electronic devices.
Instant Quotes and Easy Cost Modeling
With a modern online application for quoting and project administration, designers and business people alike can simply upload their Gerbers and Bill of Materials to get an instant quote and view lead times. Know exactly how much your turnkey PCB assembly will cost and order instantly, online, anytime. Track the status of your project from any browser.
These online tools let users estimate what parts and manufacturing will cost at higher quantities to help them decide how much to charge for their product or how much investment capital will be needed.
Traditional manufacturers either reject small prototype orders or charge an arm and a leg to do them. One of the main purposes of on-demand services is to take the pain out of prototyping, making it affordable and easy for inventors to rapidly create PCB prototypes and iterate as often as they like. With MacroFab, you can prototype affordably to iterate on your design, then ramp up easily without moving to another manufacturer.
Sourcing and Parts Inventory Management
MacroFab takes care of the ordering, inventory management, and sourcing for all the parts needed for your PCB. We will also accept your inbound shipment of other items and manage that inventory for you. Your inventory can all be easily tracked through our online platform. Try our free demo.
Scale with one Manufacturer
Whether you need one PCB prototype or 100,000+ fully assembled electronic devices, MacroFab can meet your needs quickly and inexpensively. This makes it easy to stay with one manufacturer, eliminating the need to onboard multiple factories.
Product Inventory Management
The best on-demand manufacturing companies support you all the way through the product lifecycle by acting as the warehouse and inventory management service for your finished electronic devices. This eliminates the costs, time, and risk of shipping between the manufacturer and the warehouse.
Order Fulfillment and Shipping
Shipping a purchased item to the customer is the final step in the product lifecycle, and MacroFab offers these services as well. We have an API to integrate your ERP or e-commerce solution to ensure that as soon as a customer places an order, it is packaged and sent on its way. Getting this task off your plate is an obvious benefit and saves on shipping costs by leveraging our relationships with freight carriers is another perk.
On-demand manufacturing is ideal for small businesses, entrepreneurs, engineers, and the like. It makes it possible to create innovative new products or launch their new product introduction.
In the same way that the Internet has changed how we connect with friends and family, how we consume entertainment, how we shop, and how we work, it is now changing how the products we love end up in our hands.