Can you manufacture a profitable business?
The question is, how...
Manufacturing has come a long way in the United States, which has paved the way for smaller manufacturers wanting to set up shop.
The question is, how are small manufacturing businesses doing and what trends are they following?
Here is a brief look at small manufacturers in the U.S. in 2015:
Small Manufacturers in the U.S.
There are a growing number of smaller manufacturers in the United States.
In fact, according to the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, there are more than 270,000 small manufacturers across the country as of 2015. And, a large percentage of those manufacturers have fewer than 50 employees.
In addition, U.S. manufacturing both large and small is responsible for 60 percent of exports in the country. That's nearly 12 percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product.
Based on the numbers above, it's plain to see that small manufacturing in the U.S. is a booming business.
Small Manufacturing Trends
Unlike larger manufacturers, small manufacturing businesses follow different trends when it comes to production.
By creating an atmosphere of fast and agile production schedules in combination with product customization, smaller manufacturers are able to stay afloat and compete with larger businesses.
As the following article looks at, one of the 5 financial tips for starting a business is establishing the cost of products.
In order to keep production costs low, smaller manufacturers are following the made-to-order trend. Instead of keeping an inventory, manufacturers are making products on demand.
This allows smaller manufacturers to customize products with each new order while avoiding overstock situations.
In addition, the made-to-order trend also allows small manufacturers to decrease supply chain costs by not over ordering certain supplies and materials.
Small Manufacturing Business Examples
Although the U.S. economy has seen some ups and downs, small manufacturing businesses of all kinds are still opening their doors across the country and finding success along the way.
Here are just a few small manufacturers that went into business in the last few years:
• Enviro-Log - Located in Fitzgerald, Georgia, this earth-friendly fire log manufacturing company only has 30 employees. However, the company's product is already being carried in such stores as Home Depot, Walmart, and Sears.
• Art's Way Manufacturing - With just more than 200 employees, this farm machinery manufacturer and distributor out of Armstrong, Iowa now ships its farm machinery all across the country.
• Green Toys - With just eight employees, Green Toys out of San Francisco, California manufactures children's toys made from 100 percent recycled materials. The company, which leases manufacturing space in a few different U.S. factories, has increased its sales by 50 percent each year for the past two years.
Even though small manufacturers don't produce the same products as their larger counterparts, they have the same business goals in common.
By avoiding such manufacturing pitfalls as overproduction and over processing, smaller manufacturing businesses are able to continuously meet sales goals.
Likewise, small manufacturers are increasing their quality control standards, which are resulting in fewer manufacturing defects. This allows smaller manufacturers to more accurately meet their budgeting goals by avoiding costly production imperfections.
When it comes to small manufacturers in the United States, more and more businesses are finding success.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including manufacturing and small business.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.