By Joe Arnone, Radius Innovation

Originally appeared on Radius Insights

Speed matters. Quality matters. Cost matters. Risk matters. But how do you tick all of these boxes while still delivering on what your customers really want? Your customers are demanding new products at a pace which is getting hard to manage. Your manufacturing costs are increasing and it’s getting more challenging to maintain quality control. In fact, there are times when you’re not even convinced that what you’re manufacturing is what your customers really want.

It really feels as though you’re in a race that has no finish line. So what are you supposed to do? Well, how about shifting your mindset from the traditional domain of high volume manufacturing to low volume manufacturing. Yes, traditionally high volume manufacturing was the most economical choice, but how well does it deliver on speed, risk management, and quality control. High volume manufacturing forces you to make a lot of trade-off for the sake of cost.

This is why we want you to think about and move forward with low volume manufacturing. Thanks to the boom in digital technology, low volume manufacturing truly is an option for every enterprise, regardless of production numbers and timelines. Low volume manufacturing is all about diminishing risk, driving speed to market, and ensuring top quality. So what’s holding you back?

Think about how rewarding it would be for you and your customers to deliver exactly what they want, when they want it – all at a cost that is affordable for everyone. This is what low volume manufacturing with the right partner can give you.

Save Your Money and Your Innovation Pipeline
We get it, your margins are tight, particularly when it comes to keeping up with the pace-of-change in the market. You’re trying to manage resource costs while delivering a product on-time and with a price point that works for you and your customers. This isn’t easy. So we understand that rethinking your manufacturing processes and methodology can be a scary prospect.

This is exactly why want to you take advantage of low volume manufacturing. There is real opportunity for cost savings by utilizing Radius experts to take over the hard work of getting innovation prototypes into production, while keeping innovation team talents and resources on more development, engineering, or pipeline for future products.

The key to understanding how and why low volume manufacturing can be your game-changer is in realizing that more is not necessarily better. We’ve been taught that our margins drop with higher numbers. But what about the cost and loss that comes when you discover that your 500,000 order is wrong – the color is off, the materials are faulty, and it was delivered too late. Now, you’re stuck with 500,000 pieces of product that no one wants (not even you).

Reframe this with a low volume manufacturing mindset. Perhaps you’re creating a new product line or adding a new feature to an existing product, and you’re not sure how well received it will be. With low volume manufacturing you can manufacture a small number of pieces and use these to validate your design, your materials, and your industry analysis. All at a much lower overhead cost in manufacturing and in wasted product.

Maintain Design Freedom
It’s not easy to innovate and change your design or materials. This all comes down to how your products are manufactured. Likely in the early days of your company and product line, you worked with an expensive manufacturer who created a set of molds for your products – and these are the molds you’re still using today. This manufacturing legacy is holding you back.

Think of how much change we’ve experienced in just the past five years in digital technology. 3D printers, the cloud, IoT, and industry 4.0 have opened up so many doors for how you think about, design, prototype, produce, and manufacture. Gone are the rigid inflexible molds – replaced with design, production, and manufacturing flexibility.

With rapid prototyping and 3D printing you can make changes on-the-fly, better respond to customer feedback, quickly adjust for new materials, and fix design flaw before they become endemic. This all comes down to giving you less waste, better products, smarter design, and greater efficiencies.

Get to Market Faster
Quick, check the calendar – how much time have you allotted for idea to design to manufacture to market? We’re assuming six to 12 months. A lifetime for a company, brand, and product line. You cannot afford to wait 12 months to find out if your customers want the product you’re waiting on.

You need to get to market first. Not only do you need to be first, you need to deliver a quality product at a market-correct price. This is not going to happen with your high volume manufacturing limiters. A move to low volume manufacturing allows you to manufacture a smaller quality of products much much faster.

Not only do you beat your competitors to market but you do it at reduced costs with a better product – and much less risk. Your customers are happier, they have the product they want when they want it. In fact, you now have the capability to respond to the latest trends and fads in your industry – your brand benefits and you don’t have shelves packed with outdated expensive product that no one wants.

Make the Leap from Prototype Faster and Better
One of the biggest challenges in any industry is in knowing what is going to catch-on. You can do all the industry analysis and surveys you want and still come up short. Remember, this is part of what we do (human factors and industry analysis), and we understand how fickle your customers and potential customers can be. All it takes is one viral social media post or review, and the next-greatest thing quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

This is why we want you to take advantage of low volume manufacturing. Get your product in front of your potential customers, get feedback, get design analysis, and find out if it meets the industry standards. Once you’ve validated your prototype, you can then quickly make the leap to full-blown product. You’ve got the speed, the design capabilities, and manufacturing strength to quickly meet the demands of your customers. Gone are the days of waiting and waiting to see your prototype move forward.

Bridging Your Gaps
We know what you’re thinking – great, but how I am I supposed to make this transition from high volume to low volume manufacturing? We know how challenging it is to get access to Tier 1 manufacturing capabilities and experience. We also don’t want you to be forced to work with Tier 2 and 3 manufacturers.

This is where Radius comes in. We have the suite of capabilities, experience, manufacturing resources, and knowledge to allow you to bridge your gaps. You focus on doing what you do best and we work with you to manufacture the best possible product faster and better.

We give the access to Tier 1 capabilities at a fraction of the cost and headache. Know that you’re working with a team that allows you to realize your products at the right pace and scale to succeed in the market. In fact, we’ll be with you every step of the process, making you wonder why you waited so long to switch from high volume to low volume manufacturing.