For many people who get into manufacturing, it’s either a decision that stems from some sort of calling or it’s purely out of necessity, but never anything in between. If you’re just starting out in manufacturing however, looking at the existing market can be quite overwhelming because existing manufacturers appear to be well established and they appear to run really big operations that seem to be hard to compete with.
You have to start somewhere however and grow into the industry instead of trying to apply the growth model of the modern day tech sector (Silicon Valley), which is one of first securing funding to use in the development of your product(s). In manufacturing it’s the other way around. You need to find a way to keep the conveyor-belts running and producing products in the absence of big capital reserves and then incrementally use the profits from the sales of the existing products to keep growing and expanding the operation.
A good-quality 3-D printer is a great example of starting small, but obviously that would mean you’d probably use the printer to create prototypes instead of trying to produce every single completed product with the 3-D printer itself.
Invest in good quality prototyping equipment
Engineering graduates tell the story of the reality best and they’ll gladly explain to you just how expensive the manufacturing process can be if you have to rely on using equipment which you don’t own as well as having to use someone else’s premises. That’s why it’s important to invest in good quality prototyping equipment, even if it means building it yourself from the ground up! This way, if the suppliers you otherwise rely on experience some problems or they disrupt the process through other means like spiking the prices of the materials they supply, the process can go on for you.
Granted, some components are best sourced in their completed state, but if your end product is to stand out in this very competitive manufacturing market, the likelihood is that it has to be as unique as possible.
One way to offset these prototyping costs goes back to our discussion of the use of the 3-D printer, which you can deploy to print out custom components in addition to those components that can be used to manufacture bigger components as well as your final products.
Another way to offset these prototyping costs is making use of protective products such as a custom plastic enclosure from specialist producers such as Electronicase. This particular company is in specific service of mid-sized manufacturing business and other mid-sized businesses, as well as engineers and even hobbyist manufacturers. The idea is to prolong the lifespan of your custom components through the use of custom protection and in the specific case of Electronicase, their support of the mid-sized business range sees them not charging any tooling costs, which can go a long way in making sure you keep your costs to a minimum.
Now as far as finding your place in the market, if you haven’t already found it that is, sometimes your potential manufacturing clients don’t even know that they need your product until you demonstrate its usefulness to them!