Pressure in the Manufacturing Sector
BitBox is reliant on globally manufactured components. We have seen the impact that this growth in demand has had on lead times across the manufacturing sector.
At BitBox we have seen an increase in enquiries over the last 12 months from entrepreneurs with electronic product ideas through to established manufacturers who are looking to develop their products to create competitive advantage or exploit the opportunities created by the Internet of Things (IoT).
As a manufacturer using components that are manufactured globally we have seen the impact that this growth in demand has had on lead times. We have also seen how the current trend in acquisitions in the supply chain can extend lead times. This can often happen if the company’s focus shifts to internal matters, even if it is only for a short period. This increase in lead times could have a significant impact on the time it takes to get a product to market. For companies using technology to drive innovation, being first can often make the difference between becoming market leader and just a ‘me too’.
In addition raw material prices have increased and, coupled with the drop in the value of sterling, this can squeeze the profit margins a company might make on a finished product. Again, this has impacted the manufacturing sector and can make the difference between a viable product and a company deciding not to innovate and risking decline.
At BitBox, having our design and manufacturing facility on one site means that, from the start of the design process, we are in constant dialogue with our manufacturing team to understand whether any of the components we plan to use are in short supply or have seen a price rise. This enables us to project manage the manufacturing side from early in the process, with the intention of minimising delays caused by a supply chain shortage.
We also monitor the market to ensure that we the components we choose are unlikely to become obsolete in the near future, which could potentially cause issues when the product goes to market. This constant monitoring means that we are also able to select the best component at the right price for our customers, which enables us to avoid unnecessary price rises.
An analogy we often like to use is that of a swan, where our customers see seamless design and manufacturing, but in the background (or underneath the water in the case of a swan) there is a lot of activity going on to ensure a quality product is developed on time and to budget..