Since the industrial revolution, manufacturing has been growing and changing to meet the needs of businesses worldwide. Businesses and consumers alike rely on the efficiency and innovation of manufacturers to keep quality high and costs low. As manufacturing processes change, so do the products we buy and how the world uses them. Here are a few ways that modern and smart manufacturing processes are changing the tools and technologies we rely on every day.
Ease of Access
The world has come a long way from needing a tailor or sewing skills to have a closet full of clothing. From the first sewing machines to modern machines designed to fabricate clothing items at amazing speeds, every step of the way has reduced the cost of clothing for the consumer. Consumer technology manufacturing has taken a similar path as the industry has grown. For example, circuit boards and other electronic components have been a stumbling block for efficiency, but developments like circuit board printers, laser cutters, and automated assembly systems help to cut production times, and, by extension, costs, allowing products to be available at a price accessible to more consumers. This access can help businesses learn more about consumer trends and improve their products accordingly.
Most products are available in varying levels of quality from high-end name brands to generic store brands. The premium on a name-brand product usually guarantees a better product and mid-range brands and generic brands can be a roll-of-the-dice. However, smarter manufacturing methods have begun to close the quality gap in recent years. For example, the phone accessory market has grown rapidly and aggressively as cell phones have become more and more ubiquitous. While most device companies offer their own branded accessories for their products, many consumers choose to buy more affordable generic versions because they don’t feel the difference in quality is significant enough to justify paying more. This means more technologies are used by more people because they are reliable even at a lower cost.
Complexity to Scale
Many of the innovations in manufacturing that make the biggest waves are ones that take a complex task or process and make it easy. Whether it’s automated fabrication or 3D printing of intricate components, these advances make it possible for complex products to be made to scale with demand. For example, advancements in machining and precision cutting have made firearms cheaper, higher quality, and easier to customize. From hunting rifles to a carbine pistol, better manufacturing has resulted in better products at better prices. In many industries, companies are investing in innovations that allow them to manufacture complex products quickly and easily to boost productivity and profits.
While products always change and evolve over time, smart manufacturing processes have made great strides in the way we use those products, including our ability to afford to use them at all.