What is light manufacturing?
Light manufacturing can be defined by any business which processes, fabricates, assembles or disassembles items in an enclosed building. Light manufacturing companies typically process clothing and accessories such as apparel, home accessory’s, foods such as drapes, food accessories such as bedspreads, decorations like artificial plants, jewelry like instruments and computers like electronic devices.
Light manufacturing industries
There are many other types of light manufacturing industries including but not limited to a wide variety of textiles, plastics & rubber processing, metals & metalworking processes and wood products. Some examples include carpet manufacture r s, paper product manufacturer s (as in paper cup manufacturers), plastic plate manufacturer as in name tag or ID card manufacturers, plastic screw & bolt manufacturer s, rubber band manufacture, paint manufacturers, shoe manufacturers (as in sole makers) and toy manufactures.
The economic downturn leads to many people turning to small business for work. An article by the Business Journal stated that “small businesses are no longer seen as struggling firms with few opportunities” but rather they are viewed as providers of new jobs. This has led to an increase of light manufacturing companies starting up or opening new locations across North America.
Small start-up business with low overhead is one of the most popular ways for entrepreneurs to get their business started without losing too much money if it fails. Light manufacturing can be a great way for a person who doesn’t have a lot of money to start a new business.
Good news for light manufacturing
An article by the Winnipeg Free Press suggests that “the demand for finished goods and services does not appear to be slowing” which is great news for light manufacturers since they tend to supply finished goods and services. Light manufacturing isn’t likely to slow down any time soon and should hopefully continue growing as technology continues to advance.
For those interested in starting a small business, light manufacturing could be an ideal location since it has low overhead, high flexibility, low risks and possibly high returns.
Tips and methods
- In general, light manufacturing companies focus on lighter or smaller products.
- Light manufacturing companies have a wide range of potential products considered ‘light’.
- The equipment required for a light manufacturing company is often simpler and less expensive than that needed for a heavy manufacturer.
- Like all other business operations, light manufacturers have specific requirements when it comes to workplace safety and wellness programs.
- The combination of task automation and flexible work arrangements allows workers in a light manufacturing environment to make more efficient use of their time. This can be done through initiatives such as process enhancement efforts, cross training, shared, supervision flexibility, team performance incentives, and team participation.
- Light manufacturing is often considered a growing sector of industry because workers are often willing to accept lower wages in exchange for flexible hours. However, the average light manufacturing worker makes more than the average service worker, averaging $15.54 per hour.
- A number of labor unions exist for employees in light manufacturing companies
- The following organizations may be able to provide job postings or other information about employers who might hire individuals with specific skills or experience related to light manufacturing jobs.
- A number of professional associations also exist related to manufacturers.
- Many community colleges offer classes on how to on certain types of machinery that would be required in a light manufacturing job.
- Also consider checking with local machinery dealers and manufacturers for courses they may offer. The following organizations exist to help connect individuals with training options.
Benefits of light manufacturing
There are many benefits to working at a light manufacturing company as opposed to manufacturing factory work. In an interview with the Checkpoint Blank, Sam Calione of Dogfish Head Brewery states that “the working hours were better at the brewery and there was no physical labor involved” in comparison to the factory where they used to work. The physical labor and long hours of a manufacturing facility aren’t found in light manufacturing, allowing employees more time with family or for personal pursuits.
Light manufacturing environment
The Light Manufacturing Environment is an open, collaborative environment that allows for the utilization of the collective knowledge that resides within your team. It is designed to streamline processes and promote innovation without requiring specialization in mechanical engineering.
The Light Manufacturing Environment also enables small-batch manufacturing by utilizing digital fabrication machines such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills, etc. These types of machines are able to make parts for future projects or products using available materials. This reduces waste while helping your organization control costs. Once a product has been manufactured it can be programmed with its own data sheet which can source information about the product all the way back to its design process.
Similarity with the mass manufacturing
This type of production is similar to mass manufacturing but on a much smaller scale with the added benefit of open collaboration. However, it is not without its challenges.
The benefits of The Light Manufacturing Environment are significant, but there are obstacles to consider. Here are some tips to help you make decisions on how best to implement this type of production environment in your own organization:
- Improve communication between departments by introducing consistent design files and process documentation which can be shared through a digital platform.
- Start small by creating prototypes utilizing one or two digital fabrication machines before expanding into any large-scale projects involving multiple machines.
- Use consistent language known across the entire organization when describing products or processes so that employees understand exactly what they need to do without requiring specialized knowledge within certain departments.
- Make sure employees understand what resources they have access to and how to utilize them properly before requiring them to use new tools.
- Keep safety as a top priority at all times, even when using digital fabrication machines that are designed to be safe for work environments that do not require specialized safety precautions.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are example of light industry?
In the light manufacturing industry, it includes clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics etc.
- Is there any difference between light and heavy industry?
The light industry works on a small scale. While the heavy industry works on large scale.