Producing results that are more than the sum of its parts
Integrated manufacturing combines different manufacturing processes and stages of production into a single facility. Automation and advanced manufacturing technologies are often deployed together with integrated manufacturing to further streamline production. By integrating as many processes and technologies as possible, integrated manufacturing becomes more than the sum of its parts. Lead times are greatly reduced, supply chain risks are eliminated, costs go down and better products can be produced.
Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Lead time
Designing a new product is challenging and manufacturing it profitably can be just as difficult. In order to produce a final product, parts must be manufactured, assembled and tested to ensure the proper fit and function, no matter the manufacturing paradigm. However, issues can arise during any of these stages, and it’s important to quickly identify and address them to prevent further problems down the line.
Outsourced manufacturing can be a nightmare for companies that are trying to introduce a new product to the market. When each part comes from a different vendor, feedback loops can become long and frustrating. Sometimes, that feedback needs to be sent to several other parties, who may not be in the same time zone or even on the same continent. In these situations, it’s not uncommon for vendors to point fingers at each other, which can lead to delays and further complications. Each email exchange can take a day or more, and in some cases, you may need to travel to a distant factory to understand the root cause of a problem. Correcting issues, improving processes, and implementing design changes can take a long time and cost a significant amount of money. Meanwhile, your production line may be down, or worse yet, producing faulty products while you try to fix the issues.
Integrated Manufacturing is a powerful paradigm that minimizes the feedback loop between various stages of production. By bringing together all the stages of production under one roof, Integrated Manufacturing can reduce the time it takes to manufacture and test parts, and the time it takes to rectify any errors or issues discovered in the process. If an issue is identified during the testing process, the team responsible for that part can quickly correct it and re-test it, without having to wait for an outside vendor to provide input or fix the problem.
For example: A certain part fits into an outside vendor’s assembly better if several holes could be smaller by a few thousandths? Walk to the other end of the building and discuss it with the machinist who made the part and have the drawing changed that hour. Test the change before lunch and have the change fully implemented before the end of the day. The changes are made quickly so very few parts were produced incorrectly while the change is being worked out. Scrap and rework is reduced and the production line can continue producing finished goods (and revenue) with minimal interruption.
Going to market faster with Integrated Manufacturing: New Product Introduction
The NPI process can be slow and painful, as every part and process is new and needs iteration through the feedback process. I built NVZN Labs specifically to accelerate the NPI process. The advantages integrated manufacturing offers to complete products are rocket fuel for new product designs. Integrated manufacturing can accelerate NPI by reducing the feedback loop from weeks to days.
Product designers can also be more involved with the NPI process. Since most of the parts are manufactured and assembled at a single factory, product designers can observe every step of the production process and gain valuable insights into how their designs influence the construction of the final product. This concentrated knowledge and capability not only results in a better product with lower costs, but also enables faster time-to-market. By closely collaborating with the manufacturing team, product designers can quickly identify opportunities for improvement and incorporate feedback from the manufacturing team. They can make real-time adjustments, which reduces the need for costly iterations and delays. The end result is a better quality product that meets customer demands and achieves market success.
integrated manufacturing can deliver significant value to hardware and product companies. Startups especially benefit from this process, where it’s their first product going through NPI so time and expense are of the essence and their company doesn’t have experience from the last product to fall back on. By integrating as many processes and technologies as possible, integrated manufacturing becomes more than the sum of its parts. Concentrating diverse manufacturing capabilities with designers and engineers increases efficiency, reduces lead time, and accelerates NPI.
Interested in learning more about integrated manufacturing and how it could improve your product manufacturing? Contact us for a factory tour today!