As Custom Manufacturing Booms, abas ERP publishes the Guide to Custom Manufacturing: “Critical Success Factors For Custom Manufacturing”
Today’s customers increasingly demand customization. Offering customization was once inconvenient, expensive and time consuming. If you wanted to produce at scale and at lower costs, you had to standardize your components and processes.
Not so today. Emerging technologies allow custom manufacturers to produce custom orders fast and at lower costs that support profitability. The manufacturing tradeoffs between scale and customization as well as between cost and quality, are quickly disappearing. All of this, and more, is described in a new abas ERP whitepaper, “Critical Success Factors For Custom Manufacturing.” This whitepaper serves as a handy guide to custom manufacturing.
Download the Guide to Custom Manufacturing:
Custom Manufacturing Challenges
Custom manufacturing is complicated, from design to delivery, and every single project is (by definition) unique. These complications make it challenging for custom manufacturers to perform core tasks such as ordering the right materials in the right quantities at the right time, accurately costing the production process, and accommodating customer-driven changes that may arise along the way. Getting any of these core tasks wrong means jeopardizing profitability, product quality, timing of delivery, as well as overall customer satisfaction.
To gain agility requires an ERP platform that integrates all your business operations
Doing things right in custom manufacturing requires operational agility. What operational agility means, as the new whitepaper explains, is that relevant data gets shared across the organization and informs the entire custom manufacturing process. So when a change is made in the product’s design, those changes get integrated and reflected in the entire value chain, from design to ordering parts to production, costing, and delivery. To gain such agility requires an ERP platform that integrates all your business operations, from the factory floor to the back-office and into the supply chain. The abas USA guide to custom manufacturing sets out two of the main challenges custom manufacturers face, explaining how an ERP system helps overcome each:
Challenge #1: Fast Delivery
You probably know this already, but your customers demand high-quality, customized products from you, but don’t want to sacrifice delivery time. A survey by Manufacturing.Net shows that nearly 2 out of every 3 custom manufacturers ranked speed of delivery as the top customer demand. Fair? Maybe not, but demand for fast delivery places massive pressure on custom manufacturers to be efficient in everything they do. An ERP system supports that operational efficiency at every step.
Check out our Custom Manufacturing Industry page for news, downloads and insight about the Custom Manufacturing Industry
Challenge #2: Process Efficiency
Profit margins on Custom Manufacturing projects can be paper-thin and can go down the drain fast if you’re not as lean and efficient as possible. The only way to meet this “efficiency challenge” is by having flexible production technologies, blended with advanced planning capabilities. They enable you to make sound cost and time estimates from the beginning, and then track your actual costs versus estimated costs through the entire project. Again, an ERP system coordinates all of this data sharing and updating across your organization in real-time. You have visibility into what’s happening and can change course quickly and still assess your operational capacities and profitability.
Some Custom Manufacturing Solutions
Let’s move away from challenges to some of the solutions described in the new guide to custom manufacturing:
Solution #1: CAD Integration
A customer might bring you a design. You need to have a way to automatically integrate the customer’s design into all your relevant systems, from parts ordering to production planning to financial costing (to determine your costs, the price you’ll charge your customer, and to define your profit margins), and beyond. CAD integration, a component of your ERP system, offers you exactly that.
advanced robotics is a technology that holds the promise of transforming custom manufacturing
When you integrate the design through a CAD system, everything connected to the design automatically springs into action. When the customer wants to change their design, as inevitably happens, you can quickly adjust your entire operational posture accordingly, re-calibrating your operational processes automatically. That’s agility in action.
Solution #2: 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing
It’s becoming increasingly possible to print parts in various materials, from plastic to metal, with ever-more-capable 3D printers. You simply input the design and the product comes out. Custom manufacturers can apply 3D printing technology to the development and prototyping process, where the emerging technology’s agility and speed can improve efficiency. Having an ERP platform in place makes it easy for you to integrate the emerging tech of today and tomorrow. Being "future proof” in this way is a key driver of your custom manufacturing competitiveness.
Solution #3: Advanced Robotics
Like 3D printing, advanced robotics is another technology that holds the promise of transforming the custom manufacturing process. Today’s advanced robots are mimicking more human traits like manual dexterity, memory, and learning from data, making them uniquely valuable in dynamic, custom production environments. Several industries, including automotive, electronics and industrial machinery manufacturers, have made large investments in dynamically programmable robotics with interchangeable tooling that can switch quickly between models and variants. Again, you’ll need a platform to integrate this evolving tech, which an ERP system gives you.
A Platform for Custom Manufacturing Success
Put simply, we don’t even know what technologies will be driving custom manufacturing five or ten years from now. That’s why you need to build in operational agility and future proof your business with an ERP system that’s also a platform for growth.
Learn more about where custom manufacturing is going, what’s driving the industry's growth, and how modern ERP fits in!
Download the guide to custom manufacturing: