Manufacturing needs for new product development are very different from those of an already mature product. In the later case, price and scale become two most important factors when considering a vendor and companies opt for complex supply chains and specialized vendors. For new product development, volumes are very low (ranging from 1 – 10) requiring multiple manufacturing technologies like CNC Machining, Vacuum Casting, 3D Printing, 3D Scanning and is a reiterative process. Thus one stop shop is very important as the startups don’t have bandwidth to deal with multiple vendors.
Entire manufacturing industry is built for scale and vendors are so accustomed to a process where volumes and low prices matter. Moreover, lot of pre-production and post production set up is required for manufacturing a part and customer aren’t willing to pay for the initial setup. Thus low volume orders become unviable for majority of the tool rooms. . Through technology intervention and process automation, we addressed this issue and built a system that works very well for low volume requirements. Our system can handle orders ranging from 1 to 1000 pieces without much difficulty.
Most of the manufacturing service providers are stuck in old methods of communication, so are the customers as the orders are generally finalized and awarded by purchase team. But the same won’t hold true for startups and MSMEs doing new product development. Product designers in such firms are digital native folks more comfortable with online ordering process and aren’t comfortable with visiting these manufacturing companies present in the industrial areas on the outskirts. With online ordering process and digital first approach, our approach is well tuned to the needs of the product designers and innovators.
Manufacturing is one industry that is highly non-transparent with limited scope for price discovery. Two vendors will quote two completely different prices for the exact same design and each one has his own justification for the same. For the product designers who aren’t well versed with the manufacturing terms, it becomes very difficult to choose a vendor. At THINK3D, we made it a mission to be very transparent with our customers. Many times, a small change in the design would lead to massive reduction in price and we clearly inform the same to customer. In a way, we handhold the customer in the product development journey.
Delay is a very common issue with the manufacturing industry. It stems out of the dependencies service bureau have on various vendors for tools, raw material, coolants. These vendors generally don’t stick to their timeline commitments and that has a cascading affect on the entire timeline. It is a very difficult issue to solve even for us but at THINK3D, we try to level best to mitigate the delays by maintaining inventories and by building deeper relationships with our vendors. We train the vendors on our business mission and need for their timely deliveries to delight our customers.