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What if manufacturers had a viable business model to scale and localize manufacturing without building additional factories?
When Airbnb came on the scene in 2008, the hospitality industry was monolithic – dominated by large hotel chains that dictated both prices and lodging conditions. During high-demand periods, hotels would leverage their finite capacity in a given geographic area to keep prices high. And – as anyone who has ever attended a mega trade show understands well – capacity would almost never keep up with demand during peak periods. Adding capacity meant building more hotels, at significant time and expense.
Then two roommates had an idea: why not use existing local resources (empty rooms and beds in homes) to create greater lodging capacity when needed? The end result is more local capacity, resulting in better prices and accommodations for all. Basically, everyone wins (except the monoliths).
The manufacturing sector has long suffered from the same monolithic approach. Many large-scale industrial assembly facilities, for example, order their parts from suppliers. These suppliers produce the parts, then ship them – sometimes from the other side of the globe. Delivery times are at the mercy of production lag, stock management constraints or force majeure.
The end result is that large-scale production in a major assembly facility can literally be held up for the want of a single plastic or metal component. What’s more, increasingly production capacity requires new production facilities – which raises overall production and product costs, eats into narrow profit margins and can incur even greater shipping expenses.
The idea is simple: just like Airbnb uses available local space in existing homes to meet lodging demands, why not use existing and local manufacturing capacity to meet production demands? Why not leverage the engineering expertise and manufacturing facilities of dozens of qualified manufacturing partners to quickly and efficiently fulfill orders for a variety of industries?
Like Airbnb, this is a radical departure from the way things have always been done. And like Airbnb, it’s catching on really quickly.
We call this innovative approach to e-manufacturing Techniplas Prime – and it’s already enabling the production of 40 million parts per year for BMW, Daimler, Ford, and other top-tier auto manufacturers. That’s the equivalent of 1000 truckloads of car parts being produced per month – all without opening a single new production facility. By leveraging capacity at existing partner manufacturing facilities, we achieve scalable output that is equivalent to establishing at least one new manufacturing plant per year – without new construction and at competitive prices.
Here’s how it works for our top-tier automotive clients: carmakers in need of a given part simply sign into the system and get an instant price quotation from local manufacturers who produce lightweighted solutions using additive manufacturing. Techniplas Prime manages each project from the pre-production stage through tooling, manufacturing, final inspection, and product delivery to the OEM’s production facility. We are the first and only automotive e-manufacturing platform that provides expert resources, logistics and capacity optimization throughout the entire product life cycle, worldwide.
But the benefits of Techniplas Prime’s “manufacturing-as-a-service” model don’t stop there. To better capture industry expertise and meet increasingly sophisticated manufacturing expectations, we enabled integration of new technologies into the platform. For example, we now offer integrated topology optimization capabilities from our partner ParaMatters, a leader in autonomous topology optimization and generative lightweighting design. This makes lightweighted automotive parts and components instantly available to automotive developers – all they need to do is upload their 3D model online and request automated generative lightweighting design services.
Whether it’s Uber, Airbnb, or other crowd-based solutions – the age of monolithic business constraints has passed. In a climate of increasingly heavy regulatory and competitive pressures on manufacturers, Techniplas Prime is a timely and relevant solution to enable scalable and continuous production of high-quality products at optimal cost-benefit ratios.
Techniplas Prime has succeeded in disrupting existing manufacturing business models, offering the first viable technology-agnostic virtual manufacturing-as-a-service platform that can scale and localize.
Avi Reichental is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of XponentialWorks, a venture investment and product development company that is monetizing the upside of disruption from exponential-tech convergence.