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Page 18


www.us-tech.com


March, 2020 El Ect r o nic Mf g SEr v icES


Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) is Good for U.S. Factories


By Philip Spagnoli Stoten


purchasing and globally competitive pricing, but what’s in it for the man- ufacturers providing those services? It turns out plenty. There are bene- fits on both the supply and the de- mand sides of the transaction. Elastic capacity is clearly com-


M


pelling for buyers who benefit from the ability to quickly ramp up vol- umes when demand grows and easily scale down when a product life comes to its close, all at world-class quality and pricing. On the flip side of elastic capacity is elastic demand. This of- fers all kinds of benefits to those pro- viding services through these new manufacturing platforms.


Elasticity in Supply and Demand


Elasticity in supply and de-


mand occurs when a marketplace, or platform, allows buyers and sellers to participate as and when they want. Uber and Airbnb are both examples of platforms that deliver elasticity. In


MaaS providers use multiple factories to even out supply and demand, maximizing the utilization of each factory.


anufacturing as a Service (MaaS) promises buyers faster quoting, frictionless


the case of Uber, drivers participate as much or as little as they want to. When demand is high, drivers are made aware and surge pricing is ap- plied to attract additional drivers to exactly where they are needed — elastic capacity. Elasticity in its purest form offers a win-win solution and delivers agility to a market.


In manufacturing, elasticity has


been created by platforms or market- places, that include MacroFab, Fictiv, Xometry, and 3D Hubs, all allowing buyers to upload their data, be that a BOM or CAD files to receive a fast, competitive quote. Buyers using these platforms benefit from a fast, intu- itive, frictionless, digital-first user ex-


perience. Also, artificial intelligence (AI) has been at work in the back- ground to improve the quoting and vendor selection process. As these in- telligent systems learn, quotes be- come faster or even instant. AI also results in the vendors seeing more ap- propriate jobs for them to bid on.


Why MaaS is Good for the U.S. Regardless of whether one uses


an MaaS platform, or works directly with an EMS provider, manufactur- ing in America has much to offer. Proximity to market for one. Having a factory close to design and to the con- sumer just makes sense. Being in the same region and time zone as a man- ufacturer allows an OEM to form a much closer relationship between the design engineers and the factory, re- sulting in less problems at product launch and faster response to changes. Proximity to the consumer has obvious benefits for contract man- ufacturers (CMs), including short lead times and greater flexibility. Lean manufacturing techniques


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