You’ve submitted a PO (purchase order) for a custom product that will be produced by the manufacturer of your choosing. The quantity, price, and type of product you’re requesting have been sent off – now what? Managing the ordering process of custom manufacturing can easily be achieved by understanding and implementing these three steps:
- knowing custom and catalogue/inventory differences
- engaging with the manufacturer during the process
- embracing small lot production
Mass production, catalogue, and inventory selections aren’t your only choices when it comes to wood products – you have options. Understanding the difference between ordering a custom vs. a catalogue or inventory product, will enlighten you on the ordering process you are about to begin.
When you choose custom manufacturing, your idea becomes a high quality, one-of-a-kind product that you can build a connection with. Your options with custom are broad and the benefits are vast, compared to the limitations of catalogue and inventory selections from mass manufacturers.
A custom process allows you to be in control of the product being produced and tailor it in a way that fits every need and desire you have. It also gives you an opportunity to work one-on-one with the experts in that manufacturing industry. Although the process can take a little longer than ordering online from a mass manufacturer – the end result won’t even be comparable. Remember, custom starts and ends when you do – the ball is always in your court.
When you work with a custom manufacturer, there are multiple steps that need to be taken in order for the process to be successful. The first meeting you have with your manufacturer will likely be to determine your needs for the product, and establish the specs and pricing. From there, the manufacturer will have a draftsman create a CAD drawing for your approval, before manufacturing and delivering it. Engaging with your manufacturer about problems, concerns, or ideas should occur at any phase of the custom process. Custom manufacturers work to identify your product needs and meet them – they want to hear from you!
When you order through a custom manufacturer, you know a skilled craftsman is taking the time necessary to create a quality masterpiece. Most mass manufacturers produce thousands of products at one time, also known as “batching” or lot production. When this is eliminated from a manufacturer, there is less opportunity for defects and mistakes. Lean manufacturers, on the other hand, seek ways to constantly make small improvements to their production process and business. They use small lot production to create a batch size of “one” and administer a true quality assessment for each product, each and every time.
What’s the benefit? The combination of lean manufacturing and small lot production means that products are produced in smaller quantities, but are efficiently crafted with higher quality and lower costs. This not only benefits the manufacturer, but your product as well.
The final goal of custom manufacturing is to create the unique product that you have envisioned and individually test it for quality. Understanding how to curate a successful custom order with your manufacturer will increase your satisfaction with the end product and your experience. Remember, custom work takes time and doesn’t come from a catalogue, so get some inspiration for your next meeting with a manufacturer here.