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What is On-Demand Manufacturing and How Does It Work?

The term “manufacturing” is likely to conjure images of massive factories and assembly lines that employ sophisticated machinery to continuously produce a wide variety of goods. Even though one manufacturing approach is well-known and traditional, others are starting to gain popularity because they solve some of the drawbacks of traditional manufacturing. On-demand manufacturing is the name of this business strategy.

What is manufacturing on demand?
On-demand manufacturing, often referred to as custom manufacturing, cloud manufacturing, or manufacturing on demand, is a manufacturing method where products are only produced when needed and in the necessary amounts. This innovative manufacturing process contrasts with conventional manufacturing, which produces goods in bulk and stores them in facilities until they are sold, distributed, and delivered.

Factors that facilitate the growth of on demand manufacturing Manufacturing Facilities
Because to the growth of the Technology and logistical infrastructure, the bulk of our needs, such as food, shelter, transportation, etc., can now be met on demand. Thus it seems sense that traditional production is giving way to the on-demand approach.

The internet and cloud-based technology serve as the main enablers of manufacturing on demand. With the aid of these technologies, manufacturing businesses may develop sophisticated online platforms that let customers submit models and get feedback on their designs that is automatically generated for manufacture along with very precise prices. The platforms also give producers and customers a way to communicate. One such tool is the Instant Quotation Engine from Xometry Europe, which enables you to rapidly upload CAD models to receive estimates and access to a vast global network of manufacturers.

The development of manufacturing on demand is also greatly aided by the relatively low cost of on-demand manufacturing technologies like CNC machining and 3D printing. Conventional manufacturing facilities have a number of pricey machines. On the other hand, the majority of bespoke manufacturing activities are performed using very small, low-cost machinery, allowing a wide range of businesses to participate in production. Small-scale facilities can utilize their equipment more effectively by using this business model to fill empty capacity with on-demand projects.

Custom CNC Machining
On-demand production has advantages over traditional manufacturing, according to CNC Machining Services
The advantages of on-demand manufacturing over traditional manufacturing are numerous. Several parties, including manufacturers, clients, end users, and others, profit from these advantages. Here are some of the benefits explained.

Personalized products and low production volumes
The wants and personal preferences of end users differ greatly from their needs. Manufacturers can supply exactly what a customer wants in terms of numbers and manufacturing specifications thanks to on-demand manufacturing. Contrarily, a customer’s request for a personalized product is almost unattainable under the conventional manufacturing approach. This is because the hardware configuration in traditional production facilities is fixed, and changing it significantly would be expensive. Also, employing a standard manufacturing setup to produce a small number of goods would be very inefficient financially.

On the other hand, with on-demand manufacturing, a customer may quickly buy and receive even a single prototype, regardless of how complex it is, and have it manufactured. The medical field is just one of many that depend heavily on custom manufacturing.

reduction of manufacturers’ storage and logistics costs
Complex logistical activities are a part of traditional manufacturing. A manufacturer must have a complex and secure storage and inventory system after mass producing a product. In addition, the products are distributed and marketed through an extensive sales network. Infrastructural support for transportation and logistics must also be provided, managed, and maintained by the manufacturer. All of these factors drive up manufacturing prices significantly.

Because prefabricated products don’t need to be stored, insured, marketed, or distributed, manufacturing on demand dramatically lowers logistics costs. Bulk production in conventional manufacturing is said to reduce costs due to the law of large numbers. The on-demand model, however, can accommodate both one-off creations and production runs of thousands due to its extreme flexibility.

storage building
Enhanced product control and decreased waste
In conventional production, an estimation or consumer demand determines how many things are produced. Given the probability of inaccuracies in this assessment, supply might really outweigh demand. Moreover, products in storage are vulnerable to deterioration, seasonal demand fluctuations, and unanticipated events. As an illustration, consider the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, when mandated global lockdowns left certain businesses with their products stranded. Situations like this cause losses and produce garbage that could be hazardous to the environment. In the manufacturing-on-demand paradigm, there is absolutely no way that supply will ever outpace demand because supply is only ever created in response to demand.

A significant amount of resources that would have been utilized to produce goods that might not be used are also saved by on-demand manufacturing. Since manufacturers can only produce goods that they have already sold, they can be sure that they will sell every single thing they produce.

encourages innovation
The regular customer-manufacturer communication, quick turnaround times, adaptability, affordability, and operational transparency that are hallmarks of custom manufacturing have significantly increased the rate of technical innovation. Inventors and innovators can create items and have a single prototype made at an astonishingly quick pace and for a comparatively low price. The product can then be improved using the prototype, resulting in a swift time to market.

The number of fantastic items that hit the market every day has significantly risen because to CAD and on-demand production. Check out our customer’s tale of how they quickly developed a product to combat the COVID outbreak as an illustration. Only huge firms could previously afford the costs associated with developing, testing, and manufacturing a new product. Today, though, almost anyone with a great idea can make it come true.

Opportunities for small- and medium-sized technologies are expanding
Due to the high volume of products that are often produced, establishing a traditional manufacturing facility is quite expensive, with some machines costing millions of dollars. On the other hand, systems for manufacturing on demand can efficiently manage modest volumes that can be produced with far less expensive machinery. Small-scale manufacturing facilities can now be established by small and medium-sized businesses.

production as a service
Manufacturing as a service, a paradigm that is even more effective than on-demand manufacturing, has emerged as a result of on-demand manufacturing’s evolution. With this strategy, an elastic supply chain is created by a network of various specialized manufacturing businesses. Supply chain managers control the flow of goods, resulting in a computerized manufacturing network like Xometry.

advantages of the manufacturing as a service business model
The MaaS concept adds several new benefits while retaining all the benefits of on-demand manufacturing. The following explores some benefits of manufacturing as a service for both consumers and manufacturers.

Instantaneous capacity
The MaaS concept makes sure that a consumer never has to look for a manufacturer on their own. Instead, the platform or supply chain manager searches the network for an appropriate and open manufacturer on the client’s behalf. The network of Xometry Europe includes approximately 2,000 producers, thus there is always capacity.

Assurance of ability
There are many different bespoke manufacturing techniques, such as sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, CNC machining, and many others. Not to mention any additional materials or post-processing steps a consumer might need. MaaS makes sure that the most qualified and economical manufacturer is always assigned to a customer’s project.

fewer tasks for the producer
The majority of the storage and shipping tasks involved in conventional manufacturing are eliminated by on-demand manufacturing. Yet, the manufacturer is still in charge of marketing, dealing with customers, and delivering final goods. The supply chain managers, on the other hand, relieve the producers of these duties in a digital manufacturing network. When you sign up with Xometry as a manufacturer, Xometry assumes control of locating and interacting with customers as well as generating more business for the manufacturers. We also deliver the finished product to the clients’ doorsteps after manufacture is concluded. You are then able to concentrate completely on manufacturing.

While traditional manufacturing remains the dominant paradigm of production today, on-demand manufacturing is quickly disrupting the sector, accelerating the pace of innovation, and opening up manufacturing to both individuals and businesses. The leading supplier of on-demand manufacturing services is Xometry Europe. We provide on-demand CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, injection moulding, and 3D printing services with multiple post-processing processes for more than 60 materials through our network of over 2,000 manufacturers.

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