Running a successful business in the 21st century is all about agile decision-making and keeping up with the market. In this article, we discuss the benefits of short-run production, a modern entrepreneurial style adopted by businesses for today’s dynamic market.
Overview of Short-Run Production
A short-run production is a bold approach to manufacturing that favors short-term business instead of long-term manufacturing. It allows entrepreneurs to diversify their risk portfolio by taking on responsibility for various product lines and micro-managing each project for maximizing profitability.
In economics, short-term production refers to manufacturing when at least one resource is fixed. This fixed resource can be machinery, labor, supply, or time. Consequently, it limits the total output. Then, the goal is to optimize performance within this limitation.
While this approach may seem anti-productive at first glance, it actually promotes efficiency in business operations. Especially, through the use of cutting-edge technologies like Industry 4.0 and CNC rapid prototyping, products can yield much higher returns than a conventional mass-production operation.
8 Benefits of Short-Run Production
Now that the basic idea behind short-run production is clear, let us move on to the main topic. Moving forward, we will highlight 8 benefits of short-run manufacturing that make it a profitable approach to business.
Quick Response to Customer Feedback
Feedback from customers is a major player in defining the commercial success of a product. One of the most important benefits of short-run production is a business’s ability to quickly collect and respond to consumer feedback.
It establishes a feedback loop with consumers as soon as the first batch of products enters the market. Business experts can analyze this feedback to detect and diagnose production faults, incorporate changing market trends in the design, and even identify untapped market segments.
As a result, businesses can greatly enhance their profitability and brand image.
Easy To Test New Designs
Most of the benefits of short-run production stem from its pivoting around rapid manufacturing technologies. With such manufacturing techniques at their disposal, product developers can easily test several design variations within a short time frame.
This activity can be a huge quality booster in the product development phase. Numerous prototypes can be shown to clients to get constructive feedback, guiding the design process in a productive direction. Moreover, functional prototypes are also very effective in working out usability kinks.
A unique point of short-run production is that it’s possible to do all this while the product is in market circulation. Updates are easy to implement since only a small batch of products is on shelves at any point.
Increase Return on Investment
Optimizing costs is what business is about at the end of the day. Among the numerous benefits of short-run production is its positive bearing on business costs.
Long run manufacturing oftentimes requires heavy investment in the form of equipment, human resources, and a dedicated supply line. While these requirements still exist in a short-run setup, companies have the luxury of micro-managing their resources as per their current production plans.
Managers can choose to invest in relatively cheaper equipment that is best for their short-term production plan. Moreover, resources like labor and inventory are also fine-tunable to current needs for cost-saving. For example, a company may decide to rent a CNC machine for its 3D prototyping needs rather than buy it if it is only a temporary need. This saves a fortune in procurement, maintenance, and reselling.
Reduce Production Time
Production time has a direct link with productivity. Thus, it is one of the most important benefits of short-run production.
Companies following this model mostly accept short-term projects that take less time to complete. The manufacturing processes are the same as any mass-production setup but the strategy of carrying out production in small batches saves time.
Moreover, time-saving is also possible by focusing a majority of the company’s resources on the project at hand and utilizing fast-paced technologies like rapid tooling.
Save More Storage Space
Among the key benefits of short-run manufacturing is the saved storage space. In this setup, as opposed to long run manufacturing, production takes place in limited quantity batches only.
Manufacturing plants produce slightly more than the short-term demand, eliminating the need for excessive storage and inventory control. While this may seem imprudent, it is not as risky as it seems as businesses nowadays can easily adapt to rapid changes in demand thanks to quick prototype development tech.
As a result, it makes monetary sense to plan production in the short term and save storage space.
More Flexibility To Update Product Design
Product development is always an iterative process. A rigorous prototype development process is crucial for good product life cycle management as initial designs will always have flaws. In such situations, quick design updates are of great help.
One of the short-run production process advantages is the additional flexibility in updating product designs anytime. Due to batch production, updates can always go into upcoming batches.
For example, customer feedback may indicate that a certain product is too heavy to use after the first batch delivery. Product designers can quickly tackle this problem by using a lighter material and manufacturing the next batch accordingly. This simple act can prevent the imperfect product from reaching a larger user base, keep its sales from declining, and also improve customer satisfaction and trust in the brand.
Better Control of the Production Process
Businesses practicing short-run manufacturing are oftentimes more involved in the production process.
Since a proactive approach is more suitable for meeting short-term goals, most manufacturers choose in-house production over outsourcing. This way they are in direct control of the product prototyping manufacturing and manufacturing. As a result, it is easy to quickly incorporate any changes the client or customers want.
Additionally, among the many benefits of a short-run prototype process is the opportunity to develop a one-on-one relationship with clients. Client needs can be better met and they can provide valuable input in production planning if they have direct access to personnel such as product developers and business managers. Not only does this improve the product quality but it also helps build a loyal customer base.
Solid Proof of Concept for Product
The batch production approach mentioned above can be leveraged to get a proof of concept for product ideas. Businesses can develop a product and test its performance by floating it in the market before full-fledged production begins.
Once proof of concept is obtained in the form of a tangible product and customer feedback, clients are more likely to take risks and invest in a bigger production run.
Start Short-Run Manufacturing With RapidDirect
RapidDirect is an industry leader in providing top-of-the-class short-run manufacturing services, like CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, injection molding, 3D printing, and more. Our quick lead times and competitive pricing, augmented by our strict quality assurance standards, give us an edge over our competition.
With RapidDirect, you get 24/7 engineering support for your manufacturing needs. Our talented team of engineers, highly experienced in manufacturing, is fully capable and always ready to address your queries.
We also provide an easy-to-use online quotation platform on our website. Just upload you CAD design files and get quick DFM feedback and a quotation from our experts.
Bonus: See the Advantages of Short-Run Production Over Long-Run Production
This bonus section quickly highlights the advantages a short-run production setup enjoys over a long-run plan. Let us go over the main points:
- Cheaper and Efficient Inventory: If your manufacturing is focused solely on fulfilling the next shipment rather than mass producing and stocking, inventory control is not a concern. Your business will spend less on inventory space and management.
- Dynamic Product Development: There is a bigger opportunity to improve your product’s design as you produce in small, measured batches and monitor its performance batch by batch. With intelligent use of rapid prototyping and agile management, design updates can be iteratively introduced with every batch of products and their lifecycle can be extended.
- Stronger Customer Relations: You can take regular feedback from customers after delivering each batch. If their feedback is acted upon in future batches, customers are more likely to stay loyal to your brand. It is also a good technique to stay in touch with your consumer base, a subtle form of marketing.
- More Control over Business Expenses: You get to decide your investments in the short term. If production goals are low during a particular time period, divert investment elsewhere and avoid losses due to resource redundancy. Need to produce more? Utilize investment reserves and reap the benefits of economies of scale! Micro-managing business finances is more profitable.
This guide provided a review of the benefits of short-run production. If you are in need of short-run production, RapidDirect can provide instant quotes in seconds for your custom manufacturing on demand. Feel free to contact us or to learn more about our prototyping and manufacturing services.