Imagine an Air Force aircraft carrier out at sea. Majestic and massive in size, it is quite something to be seen. However, while on its planned course if there is a sudden change for this carrier, would it have the ability to whip itself around and accommodate this immediate change in direction? Probably not. The laws of physics would prevent it.
Now, imagine a small speed boat turning every which way on the swelling waves. Similar to the speed boat, small manufacturing companies can facilitate major changes or crises more adeptly than their larger competitors. In the manufacturing industry where people and parts are constantly on the move, this characteristic is a huge asset.
If you walked onto the aforementioned aircraft carrier, you would probably have an overwhelming feeling of size. The boat lays out before you for what seems like miles as people scurry all around you getting to where they need to be. But imagine if you walked onto the small speed boat as it was docked and ready to go. Everyone on the boat would be able to chat and get to know each other quite easily. Small companies have this ability to make customers feel welcome into a closer environment where their urgent needs can be met with care.
Smaller shops have fewer inventories. Things are more on demand than held in reserve. Less inventory space means less overhead cost. In fact, a smaller business means fewer overhead costs all around. Set-up time is less in a smaller business which means more batches can be produced in a day. If a small shop specializes in a certain batch type, their set-up will fly by. A large company who produces many different kinds of products may have to work harder to get the correct set-up right away.
Having fewer employees makes decision time shorter. There are less hands on every batch so accountability comes down to fewer people. Pinpointing information through communication is inherently faster. Quotes and decisions can be made within a matter of hours in a small company.
In the end, we don't want to compare small and large manufacturing companies too sharply and make it appear as though the two cannot have a working relationship. On the contrary, small and large corporations should support each other in the manufacturing sector, which is one of the largest industries that keeps our country’s economy moving, especially in this modern era where production is extremely high. Small companies can provide their adept specialty skills to larger ones while large companies can provide resources to smaller ones.
Having a manufacturing community full of healthy competition will keep our industry strong and thriving.
Sources: India Today Story 1979, Chron Small Business 2016, Asme 2012. These images are for informational use only and do not belong to Swiss Technologies.