Blog

Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

Five Steps to Small Batch Quick Turn Manufacturing

March 14, 2019

Five Steps to Small Batch Quick Turn Manufacturing

Technology and shifting consumer demands are transforming the textiles industry. Craving unique, higher-quality products at faster speeds and with greater transparency, customers are driving trends toward brands that focus more than ever on consumer experience. At the same time, digital native brands and tech-forward companies are pushing the competition to keep up.

In order to react nimbly in today’s market, it’s crucial for brands to have access to small batch, quick turnaround manufacturing. Smaller batches allow brands to access manufacturing at lower prices, test markets, and serve more niche markets. Shorter lead times let you respond more quickly to market trends and stay on customers’ radar.

Below, we’ll break down five steps to agile manufacturing, including smaller batches and quicker turnaround times.

Design On-Demand

Agile manufacturing relies on streamlined processes. Part of that is access to design on-demand. Too many traditional manufacturers outsource design or charge extra fees for prototype design. This creates communication breaks and slows down production.

The/Studio offers full-time design resources at no extra cost. To learn more, read Six Reasons to Get Started with On-Demand Apparel Manufacturing.

Templatized Design Process

Another important part of the design process is templatization. Time spent reinventing the wheel is time wasted. Design templates allow for greater creativity and quality by building on what works, thereby increasing efficiency overall.

Standardized Design and Production Processes

Another important step for agile manufacturing is tightening up design and production.

Standardized Approval Workflow– For quicker turnarounds, you need the design and prototyping processes to run like well-oiled machines, while still allowing for flexibility and creativity. By standardizing workflow, you ensure that everyone knows their role and their next steps both brand-side and factory-side.

Standardized Tech Pack CreationTech packs are a must for efficient design and production. These bundles of information aid communication, transparency, and quality assurance. For maximum agility, steps for creating tech packs should be clearly delineated and conscientiously followed. You should also be aligned with your factory partners on the exact tech pack format to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation.

Centralized Communication and Management Processes

Disjointed production is slow production. By centralizing communication and management of the entire production process, you create strong links between all arms of the operation, thereby speeding up production and increasing quality.

Small batch, quick-turn manufacturing relies on centralized communication between factories, designers, and all other actors in the value chain. Manufacturers should also standardize the management of orders and factories through a unified dashboard. A centralized order management tool helps optimize order processing both brand- and factory-side, creating a more streamlined process overall.

The/Studio’s cloud-based manufacturing platform allows for centralized communication and better transparency end-to-end. Learn more about this platform here.

Access to Quality Manufacturing

In order to react quickly to market trends and have greater control over inventory, brands must have access to various factories with small batch capabilities. Low MOQ’s means less up-front investment in each order and more manageable inventory, allowing brands to reduce inventory risk and even test markets with limited run products.

If you’re in need of access to small-batch manufacturers, our Global Factory Access solution may be a good fit for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to engage with a sourcing agent or have personnel that can visit factories in-person or a minimum attend trade shows where factories and sourcing agents exhibit.

Get Started with The/Studio

The/Studio’s on-demand manufacturing service is dedicated to making manufacturing more accessible. With a network of vetted factories, a proprietary matching algorithm, and a software platform to manage the entire process, we’re focused on making manufacturing as simple and foolproof for you as possible. Check out our website to get started.