When I meet with new prospects, one of the first things they ask me is “How fast can you scale?” And that’s always a great question to get. It means that the company is confident about their product and their ability to sell it into their marketplace. It means they are thinking aggressively about the future, and willing to do whatever it takes to get there. But in our experience, that’s not really the question that they should be asking. The better question is “How elastic is your manufacturing capacity.” Let me explain why. (And for those of you who don’t want to wait, scroll to the end to get the answer.)
Being elastic is more important than being scalable. “Scale” implies one-way growth. As your business expands, it’s natural that you will need more capacity. Whether that’s the ability to manufacture more products or find additional server space, most businesses want the comfort of knowing their partners will grow with them and that their own growth won’t suffer because they need to find new partners at each stage of their business. But, if our 20 years of experience at Amtech has taught us anything, it’s that growth is never one-way.
Many business experience stops and starts on their way to stability. That’s normal – and not something that any entrepreneur or product manager wants to consider. When things grow, yes – you need to be able to scale. But, you also need to be able to easily pull back when market conditions, a supply chain issue, or external crisis limits your ability to deliver products into the hands of your customers. Otherwise, you’re stuck paying for capacity you no longer require. That’s why being elastic as a manufacturing company is much more important than our ability to scale.
Being elastic means we can absolutely scale, but also that we can quickly decrease capacity depending on market conditions – with no disruption to the quality or consistency of the overall operation. At Amtech, we rely on a set of revenue triggers that allows us to add line employees, additional assembly lines, expand our current shop or even open a new facility quickly depending on the needs of our clients. And because we rely on revenue triggers with corresponding lead times (we can add a new employee in as little as 2 weeks – finding and opening a new building might take 5 months), we never run into the problem of over-expanding with unused capacity and overhead. This means we can keep our costs consistent, and that provides better pricing clarity for our customers. By clearly communicating and being proactive, everyone knows where the triggers are, and we can decide together when expansion needs to occur and when contraction may be required instead.
Amtech’s customers never have to worry about scale. That’s our responsibility. With clear communication, they can remain confident their production needs will always be met and keep their focus on growing their sales & distribution channels without interruption. And we can plan out our operations accordingly to support their needs. It’s just like Amazon’s AWS – nobody ever has to wonder if Amazon has server capacity and it’s easy to scale up or down. We operate our manufacturing lines the exact same way for our customers. They can focus on their business without having to be concerned about ours.
So to answer the question I posed originally, “Our manufacturing process means that our operations are 100% elastic, and ready to meet the needs of our customers at any time – whether they need additional capacity or want to pull back on the capacity they already have in place.” And isn’t that what you really wanted to know all along?
Contact us today if you’re ready to see the difference that a truly elastic manufacturing system can make for your business.