5 Types of Custom Parts Manufacturing

Picture of Dennis Delgado

Dennis Delgado

Chief Product Officer
Picture of Dennis Delgado

Dennis Delgado

Chief Product Officer
SyncFab 5 Categories of Custom Parts Manufacturing Blog

Custom part manufacturing is the process of producing non-standard parts. The method of manufacturing can vary and can be commonly classified as the following:

1) BTP – Build-to-Print

2) BTS – Build-to-Specification

3) MTS – Made-to-Stock

4) MTO – Made-to-Order

5) MTA – Make-to-Assemble

1) Build-to-Print (BTP)

Build-to-Print refers to the process of creating equipment, components, or other goods based on the exact mechanically engineered specifications supplied by the client. Build-to-print designs are often defined to the millimeter, the type of materials required for each component, and other specifics. Typically, these requirements are in blueprints created by an engineer.

Why should you use Build-to-Print?

For DFM (design for manufacture) complete designs with strict tolerance requirements BTP is the most appropriate. BTP is well suited for prototyping parts and products as it allows production based on the specifications and in limited quantities.

2) Build-to-Specification (BTS)

Build-to-Specification is when a company has an assembly or component with objective operative functionality requiring general mechanical design specifications. The final tolerances to which the finished part is produced may vary left to supplier fabrication expertise. The build customer factors this into their design plans leveraging their assembly skills to construct the finished product as most suits their design concept functionality.

Why should you adopt Build-to-Specification manufacturing?

For non-DFM complete designs allowing for the manufacturability expertise of a supplier this is the right type of manufacturing method. Businesses that outsource to a supplier can benefit from this strategy because the responsibility and liability for part quality and good design is put squarely on the supplier’s shoulders. Overhead costs are often reduced for companies because experts don’t need to be hired in a subject matter that is not a core competency for their company Organizations can benefit from this category of custom manufacturing as the supplier is obligated to part quality and integrity. The company doesn’t need to think about overhead expenses.

3) Make-to-Stock (MTS)

Make-to-stock is a manufacturing technique in which items are produced in large quantities based on anticipated inventory requirements for future build scheduling needs. That demand is analyzed using supply chain management planning and forecasting techniques specific to each organization but ultimately providing them with a competitive advantage for on-time-builds.

Why should you adopt Make-to-Stock manufacturing?

The advantages of make-to-stock manufacturing production are numerous. Based on demand estimates, the goal is to produce enough stock to match your production build schedules. If this is done correctly, there are efficiencies at every stage of the production process, from raw materials through client delivery – the most important being to anticipate long lead time production parts having them made in advance so that they are already on-hand for timely production builds. Make to Stock is critical for both large volume and small batch production as well as for certain types of NPI (new product introduction).

4) Make-to-Order (MTO)

As the name implies, make-to-order is a manufacturing technique in which supplier production occurs once the order has been received. This lends itself to customized parts production to meet the requirements of a particular business on-demand. As opposed to make-to-stock, make-to-order production begins when an order is received and hence has a decreased scope for inefficient manufacturing workflow but usually with increased lead time requirements.

Why should you adopt Make-to-Order manufacturing?

Make-to-order manufacturing is driven by DFM complete parts and products particular usually given limited visibility into future demand. Manufacturers can estimate the exact order and amount of material required for a first or second build. This means that minimal inventory or labor is wasted completing finished product assembly for the targeted batch of customer delivered goods being made-to-order albeit with increased pressure on just-in-time manufacturing methods. Make-to-order is usually suited for higher value but smaller batch size production, and it allows room for some amount of product customization.

5) Make-to-Assemble (MTA)

Make-to-Assemble can be considered as the hybrid of the make-to-stock and make-to-order processes, in which the manufacturer orders from suppliers and stocks the fundamental components of their finished product but waits for customer orders to arrive before beginning assembly.

Why should you adopt Make-to-Assemble manufacturing?

Make-to-Assemble has several advantages, and the most notable is that it addresses different concerns posed by the make-to-stock and make-to-order processes and strives to overcome them through a hybrid method.

Because the essential components of the product are already in stock, manufacture to assemble does not face the same supply issues or require such a long delivery timeline as make-to-order. MTA can help handle NPIs effectively as this provides the flexibility of trying newer components to improvise a product.

It is important to note that MTS, MTO and MTA all rely on BTP manufacturing methods for DFM complete designs in concept though in practice small instances of DFM re-rengineering may occur as efficiencies for a particular design or material are discovered over time.

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