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Microfactories and the new economies of scale and scope

Microfactories and the new economies of scale and scope The purpose of this paper is to explore the microfactory model, the elements that enable it and its implications. The authors argue that microfactories reduce the risks and costs of innovation and that they can move various industries toward more local, adaptive and sustainable business ecosystems.Design/methodology/approachThis conceptual paper explores several processes and practices that are relatively new; hence, it uses online secondary sources (e.g. interviews with CEOs, videos, blogs and trade magazine articles) extensively.FindingsGiven its versatility and high automation levels, the microfactory model can fill the gap between artisanal and mass production processes, boost the rate of innovation, and enable the local on-demand fabrication of customized products.Practical implicationsCurrently, manufacturers generally need to make large investments when launching a new product, despite high uncertainty about customer acceptance, thus risking considerable losses. The microfactory model offers a safer alternative by allowing a firm to develop and fabricate new products and test their acceptance in a local market before mass producing them. Microfactories also enable the local on-demand fabrication of highly customized products.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the discussion on the economic advantages and disadvantages of scale and scope, which have been insufficiently explored in the digital domain. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management Emerald Publishing

Microfactories and the new economies of scale and scope

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References (70)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1741-038X
DOI
10.1108/jmtm-07-2018-0213
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the microfactory model, the elements that enable it and its implications. The authors argue that microfactories reduce the risks and costs of innovation and that they can move various industries toward more local, adaptive and sustainable business ecosystems.Design/methodology/approachThis conceptual paper explores several processes and practices that are relatively new; hence, it uses online secondary sources (e.g. interviews with CEOs, videos, blogs and trade magazine articles) extensively.FindingsGiven its versatility and high automation levels, the microfactory model can fill the gap between artisanal and mass production processes, boost the rate of innovation, and enable the local on-demand fabrication of customized products.Practical implicationsCurrently, manufacturers generally need to make large investments when launching a new product, despite high uncertainty about customer acceptance, thus risking considerable losses. The microfactory model offers a safer alternative by allowing a firm to develop and fabricate new products and test their acceptance in a local market before mass producing them. Microfactories also enable the local on-demand fabrication of highly customized products.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the discussion on the economic advantages and disadvantages of scale and scope, which have been insufficiently explored in the digital domain.

Journal

Journal of Manufacturing Technology ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 23, 2020

Keywords: Digitization; Manufacturing technology

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