How POD and Digital Manufacturing Can Improve Your Business

This article is contributed by Ron Stanley.

Businesses that create a product need to run some simple maths in order to survive and then thrive. Simply they need to make sure that they are creating a product that can be sold for more than the money they spend on it.

Thus they are able to buy the materials and pay for the labour, before selling it for slightly more so that they make a positive gross margin. They can then scale their business by greatly increasing the number of units they make and sell and thereby multiply that gross margin by large numbers.

Digital manufacturing is something that can help this process in almost every way and ensure that the company makes much more gross margin for each unit, that it increases the product value and that it can produce a greater quantity at lower cost.

3d printing

What is Digital Manufacturing?

Digital manufacturing is also sometimes known as 3D printing and it is basically manufacturing using an assembly line and digital schematics. In other words the job of the designer or the company is simply to upload the designs for their product – preferably in a CAD format (Computer Aided Design) once they have created the designs in the first place. As soon as these designs are available, the 3D printing service will then load them into their assembly line and the products will be produced precisely to specification in an entirely automated process.

In other words this means that there is no longer any room for human error.  Every unit will be identical resulting in minimum waste and drastically reduced overheads. The company designing and selling the product no longer needs to pay for the staff, for warehouses, for the assembly equipment or for excess materials and as a result the cost is greatly reduced. Because the products are made by machine the business can easily be scaled up to produce many more products and much more profit.

There is one downside to this.  This results from the automated nature of the process which on the one hand helps to reduce overheads, but on the other hand the complexity means that there is more than can conceivably go wrong. An error in the designs for instance would no longer affect just a few units, but would rather be repeated for every copy of the product with no human moderation to prevent it.

What is POD?

This is where POD comes in – or Print On Demand – which basically refers to the fact that such 3D printing services can load up different CAD files immediately to change what they are producing rather than being stuck in one development cycle. This in turn means that you no longer need to order bulk loads of a product, but can rather buy individual units. This allows you to check and tweak your products before marketing them, and it means that you can make changes even once they are already selling.

It also means that as a company you no longer risk financial losses by having to buy in bulk – you can send orders direct to the 3D printing company so that the products are only produced when there is demand and so you are never are left with any wasted materials.

Author Bio: Ron Stanley is a business adviser and writes on related topics. He has many years of experience in business. His website is a source for conveyor belts and conveyor components.

Photo credit: Courtesy of John Biehler via photo pin cc

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