The manufacturing industry is increasingly becoming digitised. From 3D printing to cloud-based pricing systems, more and more processes are moving online. This has considerable benefits for the sector, including cutting lead times down to size and optimising in-house workflows.
Innovators such as Manchester-based Fractory have a pioneering cloud platform which allows engineers to upload CAD drawings and receive instant pricing. Customers can order sheet metal fabrication in seconds, access a network of quality services such as laser cutting and surface treatment and all without endless back and forth emails.
This online platform can be used by anyone, anywhere. And in a bold new move, Fractory has now opened up the US market to its customers.
The Manufacturing Supply Chain Becomes Cross-Border
A cloud-based platform such as Fractory’s system is a true game-changer for manufacturers, as it opens up potentially enormous new markets. Local UK businesses can use it to expand overseas, to enter brand new markets. But crucially, they can do this quickly and easily, without any of the usual hefty investment required in marketing, export and logistics.
Here’s how it works. Orders are taken from U.S. companies, and these orders are fulfilled in the UK. Fractory plays a pivotal role in linking all parts of the supply chain together. The rapidly expanding firm, which won Best Use of Tech at the British Chambers of Commerce Awards 2019, even organises the transportation so that finished goods can be picked up and shipped over.
This unlocks a wealth of exciting new opportunities for UK manufacturing firms, and indeed companies all over the world, whatever their size or current capability.
But how do US businesses feel about placing orders online, from companies in other countries that they haven’t worked with before? Fractory has done its homework here, as evidence has shown that U.S. engineers are happy to order online – no matter where the order is fulfilled. Ordering virtually anything online has become the new norm, so the majority of U.S. engineers are happy to click ‘order’ and expect a quality product to be delivered.
As with any new technology or way of doing things, it will take time before orders from U.S. companies start to really flood in. Fractory’s first clients – the service has only recently been opened to the U.S. market – are innovators looking to optimise processes by harnessing new technology. Larger companies are likely to look for proof of trust and quality before jumping onto external new technology. Once some big names sign up though, use of cloud tech for manufacturing could see an explosive new rise in popularity.
Bigger firms could potentially see the most benefits from using the platform, especially when it comes to saving significant amounts of time with large or repeated orders. For small businesses and DIYers, the platform is a great way to get custom parts manufactured without scouring the market for a specialist company able to fulfil the order.