On-demand manufacturing, also known as manufacturing on demand, is a system where only the needed product is produced at a time. On demand manufacturing draws on the foundations of lean manufacturing developed by Toyota in the 1950s. New technology such as cloud computing makes it possible to alter the supply chain by reducing production time drastically. The rise in demand fueled by recent trends such as online shopping, dropshipping and same-day delivery has further accelerated on-demand manufacturing.
Charting A New Path
Traditional manufacturing is premised on large scale production, storage then shipping. On-demand manufacturing cuts down on storage costs since only orders are fulfilled. Today there are better tools to determine consumer demand and restrict production to the projected demand.
What Pushes On-Demand Manufacturing?
The fusion of computer applications and manufacturing through production methods such as CNS Machining and 3D printing. Sophisticated consumers in the modern marketplace also push demand for custom goods. More companies are adopting on-demand manufacturing as long-term measures to lower the cost of logistics and storage.
Advantages of On-Demand Manufacturing
The most immediate benefit of on-demand manufacturing is a decrease in storage costs. Other benefits include:
- Cash Flow Management – Many times, cash is locked up by inventory. On-demand manufacturing frees up cash which can then be allocated to other activities such as research.
- Market Tests – On-demand manufacturing makes it easier for companies to create prototypes. Such prototypes can be used to estimate potential demand before large scale production.
- Shorter Turnaround – On-demand manufacturing significantly reduces lead time compared to traditional manufacturing. The process of manufacturing occurs after the manufacturer receives an order.
- Product-Customer Fit – With on-demand manufacturing, companies can rely on just a small number of customers interested in a specific product.
Applications Of On-Demand Manufacturing
- Auto Manufacturing – On-demand manufacturing is increasingly being used in car manufacturing. Car inputs cost a lot of money, and manufacturers can hardly afford to have cash tied up in inventory.
- Consumer Demand – E-commerce has grown into a multi-billion industry. New markets globally supported by more efficient supply chains have laid the foundation for on-demand manufacturing.
- Robotics – The applications of robotics span security, agriculture and industrial uses. On-demand manufacturing has a big potential in the commercialization of robotics.
- Aerospace Industries – The space race is upon us. Companies like Space X and Blue Origin rely on on-demand manufacturing to make parts for their exploratory space ships.
- Healthcare – The Covid-19 pandemic exposed many weaknesses in the global supply chain. The demand for test kits, sanitizers and face masks soared almost overnight. On-demand manufacturing has stepped in to streamline the manufacture of medical supplies.
Manufacturing For Tomorrow
The world’s population is expected to grow to 8.5 billion by 2030. The demand for consumer goods will continue to grow at record levels as global trade moves into more industries. New manufacturing techniques reduce the time and cost of production and accelerate on-demand manufacturing applications.