Types of Small business manufacturing
When considering the area of manufacturing most people are not quick to associate it with small business. So you may be surprised to learn that in the United States small business manufacturers can be found in all fifty states. There are even organizations that exist to promote small manufacturers, and to lobby government, to assist with legislation and federal programs.
One of the major benefits of this type of business is that small manufacturers can offer specialized and personalized products that larger manufacturers cannot make profitably. This is referred to as niche manufacturing. One of the perks of this is that niche manufacturing, by small manufacturers allows them to operate in areas that have little or no competition, from larger companies. Small manufacturing businesses can be highly successful when they offer items that are niche products, where they have very few competitors.When small businesses are involved in manufacturing, there are a number of manufacturing methods that are employed. A manufacturing method is generally chosen based on the needs and the product that is being made. These types of small business manufacturing are:
- Continuous Manufacturing-This type of manufacturing is a method that can be employed, when a small business makes a single product.The process is basically an assembly line that produces a single finished product, rather than a number of products or products, that are made specifically, for a customer order. The assembly line can be made up of a number of work stations or work centers, where individual operations are made on the product as it passes along the line. This manufacturing method is most ideal, for small businesses that do not manufacture items that are customizable. This allows every finished good that is produced, to be sold to any customer without modification.
- Flexible Manufacturing-This type of manufacturing is extremely suitable for many small manufacturers. Flexible manufacturing is done using equipment that is controlled by a number of computers. It is important to understand that the production relies more on robotic cells, than manufacturing personnel, which allows the business owner to change the products that are being manufactured, to react to customer or market needs. The use of automation produces a product that is manufactured to very precise specifications, which in turn generally produces improves the quality of the product. The major disadvantage of this type of manufacturing is the high initial cost of the manufacturing equipment.
- Custom Manufacturing-This is a method used by a large number of small businesses. Custom manufacturing allows business owners to be able to fully customize their finished product, to the specific requirements of the customer. There are many items that can only be manufactured, in this method, due to their complexity or the skills that is required in the production. These are things that cannot be replicated by a machine. Many small business owners, who work alone, often specialize in items that are made using custom manufacturing.
- Intermittent Manufacturing-This is most often used if a small business is going to manufacture products that are of a similar type. Businesses that manufacturer items that are similar in nature, (but have variations), are the most suitable for intermittent manufacturing. This works because businesses will manufacture batches of the same product, (depending on customer demand) and then will manufacture a batch of the same or another product. This type of manufacturing is best for products, which are based on fluctuating demand.
Finally, small business owners should remember that they do not have to know every aspect of running a business. They can use professional services such as:accounting, marketing, and technology companies to gain a competitive advantage.