By Jason Vander Griendt

July 5, 2023 at 6:30 pm

Do you need to produce a small batch of products? Then short run manufacturing is exactly what you’re looking for (and we’re glad you found your way here!).

Why use a short run manufacturer?

Maybe you just hit on a brilliant idea for a new product but you’re smart enough not to risk putting it straight into mass production without testing market fit and consumer feedback first. You might also only have a small testing budget and a basic website. Large-scale manufacturing is probably overkill in this instance due to the cost burdens associated with producing products en-masse.

Maybe instead you only need parts for your business now and again. In technical terms, this requirement calls for bridge manufacturing and it allows you to get just the quantity you need as often as you need it.

In the above scenarios, our short run manufacturing services at JCAD — Inc. are a cost-effective way to get your parts to the market quickly, whenever you need them, without going through long, drawn out manufacturing processes.

Short run manufacturing vs. Long run manufacturing

Short run manufacturing (which is sometimes also called small batch manufacturing or low volume production) is a manufacturing process employed when a small quantity of a product is required at a reasonable production cost.

This production process, unlike long run manufacturing, is favored by manufacturers who intend to leverage rapid product prototyping technologies. It’s generally quite cost effective as there’s no need to produce expensive molds.

Some of the rapid prototyping technologies we use are 3D printing, vacuum casting and injection molding.

At JCAD — Inc, we prefer doing our short run manufacturing with vacuum casting because while both manufacturing processes produce high-quality products, vacuum casting is more cost effective. It is also a middle ground between 3D printing and injection molding that leverages the strengths of both manufacturing processes.

In fact, in some cases, due to improvements in materials, silicone casts can be of a higher quality than injection molded parts. However, for long run manufacturing requiring the production of high quantities of parts, injection molding is the technology of choice.

A manufactured metal part

Some benefits of short run or bridge manufacturing

As is expected, short run manufacturing is very popular in industries related to product design and development. It keeps the design process affordable, and helps companies to resolve any issues before putting their product out to the world en masse. Even a contract manufacturer who creates parts or components for final products will often prefer bridge manufacturing, and may even use a company like us to supply them. So if you work with us you are cutting out the middle man.

If you’re not yet sold on short-run production for your company or business, below are some of the main benefits that are usually associated with it:

Expedited Testing Process

Short run manufacturing will allow you to put your new product design to the test before your company commits fully to it. All components or parts of a new product should be tested to make sure they will work and compare favorably to other products.

As part of testing we’re also checking that all the specifications and engineering know-how that went into the product design and development works properly and is fit-for-purpose in the context of functionality.

Short run manufacturing makes it possible for you to run many tests quickly and affordably if you’d like to try different product options. That way, you won’t have to mass-produce a product that may not work as intended or where a different version might look better or be more functional.

Much more cost-effective

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that short run manufacturing costs less money than manufacturing on a large scale, seeing that the former entails the manufacture of a smaller number of new parts than the latter.

A large part of the cost in long run manufacturing, however, is mold creation. When ordering a small quantity of the parts often the mold can be avoided, saving you a lot of capital.

This greatly benefits small businesses that are short on capital and whose products lack the demand strength to compete with larger industries. Businesses like this can start with short run manufacturing, and then move to mass production once their concept is proven.

Saves Warehouse Space

Short run manufacturing also has space-saving benefits attached to it, which means saving more again. Despite variations in product size, molds require space to store them. If you are regularly manufacturing more of a product a factory may provide storage for free. But if you infrequently produce new product batches you may have to pay for this privilege. Short run manufacturing benefits companies by requiring less storage space than long run production.

Small to medium-scale companies can also save a fortune on storage for large amounts of inventory. When you can quickly and cost-efficiently produce smaller batches of products, logistically you will require much less storage space.

Faster Market Feedback

Feedback is an indispensable tool in marketing and selling your product. Even when a product functions as intended, it is not unnatural for consumers to respond negatively to it, hence the need to seek feedback quickly to better understand consumer concerns. These concerns can then be addressed and the product improved.

With short run production, you can get faster feedback by getting your products to market much more quickly and iterating faster than could ever be possible through long run manufacturing.

Outsourcing Available

If your product requires multiple components, you may benefit from not having to manufacture all the parts in-house. Companies that specialize in bridge manufacturing can help you outsource the production of products you don’t have the capacity to create.

Short run manufacturing is used by these companies to ensure they get the parts they need, when they need them.

Shorter lead times

With short run manufacturing, products can get to customers at greater speed owing to its shorter lead time relative to long run production. Do you need a batch of your product now? With 3D printing, the prototype can be made and vacuum cast with a silicone mold in no time at all. This can give you breathing room to organize large batch production processes.

Design flexibility

Designing a new product or part requires time and effort. In the beginning the manufacturing process should have greater flexibility to accommodate small changes in the design.

For example, when designing a new part, it may have a number of requirements. If these are not met when testing the product for functionality, there is a need to alter the design without incurring greater costs.

This is where short run manufacturing comes into play as it allows you to make changes to a product quickly and fluidly before mass-producing it.

Why choose us for short run or bridge manufacturing services?

A little 3D printed dragon

Save time and money with us

Engineering and design is what we live and breathe. Our expertise will save you time, and time is money. When in need of short run production, save time AND money by using our services. We will help get your product to your customers faster so that you can get reliable feedback or sales that will place your company at a competitive advantage.

With our manufacturing capabilities, we can bridge the gap (pun intended) between prototyping your product and mass-producing it, and we will be there to support you through all aspects of the project.

Helping you take your project from conception to delivery

At JCAD-Inc., we love helping our clients get their products to market quickly.

In unison with our other services, short run manufacturing is like a master key to help you solve your manufacturing problems. We are a only-one-company-needed part and product design and development specialist. From start to finish, we will work with you to define what is needed to get your parts produced and brought to market ASAP. Our full scale manufacturing plans for short run production include;

  • Idea conceptualization
  • Product designing and optimization for manufacturing
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Manufacturing parts for the first run testing and iteration
  • Assembly and fulfillment

We can even help you organize product packaging if that’s something you need help with.

We help keep your supply chain running smoothly

Because we understand the toll managing large amounts of inventory can take on small businesses and given our ability to manufacture and deliver a product from any material at any given time, we accept blanket orders from our customers, large or small.

This way we can help you develop and maintain your supply chain by ensuring we are manufacturing at the right pace to help you market and sell the product we are producing.

Using 3D printing, sillicon molds and vacuum casting, we can create parts for a range of products and industries including electronics, automotive, robotics, etc. (but the sky is really the only limit), all in-house with your specified materials.

Marrying experience and expertise in short run manufacturing

Quality manufacturing and customer satisfaction are some of the founding pillars of JCAD — Inc. This is evidenced by the sterling reviews you can find on our website and recommendations from clients we have produced high quality work for.

Give us a call today on 1-888-202-2052 or send us a quote request today!

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Jason Vander Griendt

Jason Vander Griendt is a Mechanical Engineering Technician with years of experience working at major companies such as SNC Lavalin Inc, Hatch Ltd. Siemens and Gerdau Ameristeel. He is the CEO of JCAD – Inc., a company he started in 2006 after seeing a gap in the market for businesses who could assist clients through the entire product design and manufacturing process.

Jason has been featured in Forbes, has had his businesses analyzed and discussed in multiple start-up books, was a previous winner of the Notable8 Digital Innovator of the year award, and is a regular guest on business panels and podcasts. Email Jason at jason@jcadusa.com, or follow him on LinkedIn.

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