Small Batch Manufacturing!

As we mentioned in our "Dusting the Cobwebs" post, we have:

"bought new toys and materials, played with sand (more on that later!), and opened up our doors for small batch manufacture work."

Today and tomorrow we explore a little about this small batch manufacture, coupled with sand and new toys!

But firstly, what are we talking about when we say "small batch manufacture" work?  Simply, this means we are now doing manufacture work for other businesses.  This may mean working on already established designs (known as Contract Manufacturing), or coming up with a unique design for other businesses and subsequently manufacturing it (known as Original Design Manufacturer).  We also have tweaked designs for other businesses, making them suitable for our manufacturing processes, and materials.

So why are we doing this?

We are doing this for a couple of reasons, each as beneficial to us as the other.   And again we use bullet points to make this look important!
  • Since growing, we have acquired a lot of new and specialised machinery.  Not all of our products use this machinery, and so it occasionally sits there all forlorn and alone.  And no one likes sad machinery.  So we have decided to give it a smile, and put it to good use!
  • Having other products flow through our studio increases morale.  It sounds stupid, but it does improve morale!  Having continually the same products being manufactured really is boring.  It is repetitive and mind numbing work; thus having different designs flow through shakes things up a bit.  It also means being able to switch work stations, as well as body positioning and stance.
  • It helps keep our studio running through lean months.  And this is actually a fairly important point as there is a distinctive sales cycle with our regular product.  We have lean months, and crazy busy months.  Having extra work helps as it allows us to keep pumping out at a greater capacity during these otherwise quiet months.
  • It will enable us to employ more staff.  While this hasn't happened yet, it is on the cards.  Having extra staff also increases morale.  There are more interesting people to chat to; and as well having extra staff means you can swap roles and work stations should boredom strike!
  • And finally it has enabled us to try different manufacturing techniques and skills which we otherwise do not use in our regular BOgear lineup.  This in turn has encouraged us to keep learning and growing, while also trying these techniques in our lineup!

While manufacturing in Australia is quite expensive when compared to other manufacturing hubs, the benefits of using BOgear for other businesses are quite vast.  These include: 
  • Being able to have achievable and affordable minimum order quantities.  This helps with the demand for product now, while also being able to plan for future larger orders overseas should the need arise.
  • Being able to manufacture on demand (having little to no product sitting around helps keeps costs low - which is a form of lean manufacturing).  This also helps should there suddenly be an unexpected spurt in demand.  Normally there would be a massive lead time which includes shipping via sea... not so when it is manufactured locally!
  • Being able to quickly adjust a design should the need arise.  Nothing sucks more than having a design flaw and a lot of excess stock sitting around with this flaw.  Suddenly you are unable to sell the product, or have to sell it at a loss.
  • Being able to watch the manufacture of product without spending a fortune traveling to far fetched places.  Heck you can even come in and have a beer/coffee/water with the folk who manufacture your designs!
  • Being able to take a design concept through to prototype and beyond into production at a rapid scale
  • Confidence in knowing that the design will not be copied/ripped off/stolen (insert whatever word you personally feel describes losing a design to an unscrupulous manufacturing plant... and yes, sadly it happens)

So as you can see, small batch manufacture in Australia through BOgear is really a win/win for both parties involved!

Now what instigated our desire to open our doors to small batch manufacture?  Simply, Crank It Fitness!  We have talked about Crank It Fitness before, but I will mention it again.

It is a series of webbing straps which enable you to use your body weight for increasingly difficult exercises.  In the words of Owen, director of Crank It:

"The CrankIt Straps are a new, functional fitness training tool that allow you to utilise your body weight as resistance and perform over 350 exercises that build strength, stability, endurance and flexibility and can also enhance your cardiovascular fitness.  With this portable fitness tool, you can train anywhere, anytime.  Now there is nothing holding your back from keeping in fantastic shape, no matter where your journey takes you!" 

This product has allowed us to buy a dedicated Bar Tacker.  This is a machine which we have been eying off for a long time, but were unable to justify on our BOgear product alone.  It has also allowed us to purchase other equipment, plan the purchase of future equipment, as well as develop new techniques in our lean manufacturing arsenal!

As you can see, opening our doors to small batch manufacture has been a big step in our growth.  We are thankful for the businesses choosing us, and will continue to manufacture like this for time to come!

Oh, and in the next post I promise to talk about another small batch manufactured product, as well as sand, and new toys!!

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