Why Short Run Fabrication Should Be A Part of Your Production Strategy

Market trends and customer demands can change rapidly, requiring businesses to rethink their products, services, and design. They may also need to manufacture and launch new products to meet the changes. In today’s fast-paced business world, adaptability and flexibility are the key to staying competitive. The same is true for metal fabrication businesses.

Many businesses today are looking to increase their ability to respond to changes in the market while simultaneously reducing their overall costs. One manufacturing and fabricating approach that has been gaining ground recently is that of short-run production. In a nutshell, short run manufacturing is the process of creating parts in smaller batches than usual to meet immediate customer demand. This approach provides many benefits over long-run production methods that allow businesses to be more flexible in their design strategy, better adapt to changes in the market, and lower their storage requirements.

Before delving into the advantages of short-run production, it is important to emphasize that incorporating short-run fabrication into your production cycle does not preclude the utilization of longer production runs. Long-run fabrication has benefits of its own. These include things like the ability to save costs by having a setup remain in production for a while, or seeing the benefits of buying bulk materials. In certain circumstances, longer runs might be more efficient. For now, let’s look at some of the benefits that short runs can provide.

Design Flexibility​

Historically speaking, longer runs have been the staple for manufacturing for quite some time. This was due mostly to the amount of time and effort it would take to set up the machines to run. In order to secure a profit, businesses needed a longer run time to amortize the setup time to make the cost bearable.

Things have changed, and the amount of time, effort, and overall cost of machine setup has gone down, meaning that short-run manufacturing has become more affordable. This allows businesses to be more flexible with their designs, making changes in requirements or revisions more agile. A shorter run means more opportunities to change the product and perfect it based on feedback.

This also means that new technologies can be integrated into the product more quickly, keeping businesses on the cutting edge of their respective industries.

design flexibility

Changes Within the Market

Along with the ability to respond more quickly to technological advancements in the market, short run manufacturing promotes a more flexible response to customer demand. For instance, if an unknown event or variable causes a disturbance in the market, a shorter run means you can reduce the number of units in production to adjust for that lull. Similarly, a spike in demand means that a business can quickly ramp up their production to meet those needs.

As larger manufacturers launch new products to meet changing market trends, short run fabrication allows IMS to reduce the time to design, manufacture, and meet the larger manufacturer’s launch deadline. This agility has enhanced Integrated Manufacturing Solution’s reputation as an innovative and customer focused company.

Reduced Inventory Costs

Another benefit of short run fabrication is the ability to capitalize on fluctuations in material costs. Long production runs requiring larger batches of products can lead to high inventory costs. Valuable business capital can be tied up for lengthy periods.  Short runs allow you to produce only what you need to fulfill immediate orders, so excess inventory is minimized, and capital is freed up.

Cost Optimization

Short-run fabrication offers significant cost advantages in other areas. With short-run fabrications, you can minimize the risk of excess inventory that could become obsolete, which saves costly write-offs. 

Additionally, if the cost for raw material needed for a specific part or product drops, manufacturers can take advantage of this cost savings by ramping up production for a short time while the cost is low. This is true for price increases, where production can be slowed down (where applicable) to shield the business from the high cost of materials.

More Efficient Production Strategy

With a small batch run, a fabrication manufacturer can test the market demand for a new product before committing to longer runs.

Logistical Advantages of Short-Run Manufacturing

Another area where short-runs can reduce headaches is when it comes to logistics. Shorter runs not only allow for flexibility in changing parts or order quantities, but it also results in a reduced investment in storage capacity. This is because, by definition, shorter runs result in a lower amount of inventory at each step in the supply chain, greatly reducing the cost of storing those products at warehouses or on shelves waiting to be sold.

Logistical Advantages of Short-Run Manufacturing

Better Process Control

Short-runs contribute to better process control. Part manufacturing is often outsourced, and design feedback may get lost during longer runs or even on shorter runs at large manufacturing sites. We find that working more closely with our customers builds a better relationship between us. This allows our customers to have a more transparent view of the entire design and production process, given ample opportunities to improve the process.

Enhanced Quality Control

Short production runs allow for greater focus on quality control measures. With smaller quantities to monitor and inspect, it becomes easier to identify and rectify any quality issues that may arise. By maintaining strict quality standards, IMS delivers superior products to customers, strengthening their trust in our services and fostering long-term loyalty.

Innovation

Short-run fabrication encourages a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. This approach allows us to refine our fabricated metal products based on real-world use and customer preferences. Integrated Manufacturing Solutions was founded on innovation in 2005. We were the only precision metal fabricator with an automated information and production system in the upper Midwest. Today, we provide high-quality all-in-one metal fabrication and powder coating solutions utilizing precision, cutting-edge technology.

At IMS, we are committed to helping businesses of all sizes save time and money, and enhance overall product performance and competitiveness by providing:

  • Innovative design and metal fabricating solutions
  • Flexibility that matches your business needs
  • Consistently dependable and precision fabrication processes to meet your specifications
  • On-time delivery of finished products

Here at IMS, we also work closely with our customers to lay out blanket orders with individual short-run releases weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, to make sure we’re manufacturing at the right pace for your business. We can also adjust delivery dates or part details as needed on the fly to adjust to the changing market conditions in near real time.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of reasons to consider short-run manufacturing for your parts and products. We’d love to spend some time getting to know your business and see what we can do to help you improve your designs, processes, and logistics. Short run fabrication enables us to adapt to changing market conditions and meet customer expectations effectively.

Ready for a Free Quote?

We proudly serve the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. It only takes a minute! Select the service you’d like, upload your designs, and a member of our team will respond with a free quote as soon as possible. If you don’t have design mockups, or need some help figuring out a design, we’d love to help! Simply give us a call and a member of our team would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Lead Time

3 days

Parts Completed

22,000

Manufacturing Footprint

55,000 sq ft.

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