Alejandro Lopez de Haro

The Next Generation Hardware Company

Until recently, hardware companies have also been manufacturing companies by necessity. They purchase machines, maintain them, and employ armies of procurement and manufacturing specialists to build every component of their hardware product. For some time now, the industry has been slowly shifting to a less asset-based model, with hardware companies beginning to explore different ways of cutting overhead costs by outsourcing manufacturing services. 

Many companies, including some of the biggest and most reputable consumer electronic companies in the world, have completely outsourced their manufacturing processes to third-party providers. By doing so, these companies can focus on design, product development, and marketing, rather than on heavy investments in machines and in-house manufacturing processes. 

Focus on Core Competencies. Outsource the Rest.

Companies like Apple set a benchmark for next-generation hardware companies. The company prides itself on creating intuitive experiences for its customers with products that are elegant, yet simple. Its design and marketing functions are largely based in the US where there is ample talent specifically for consumer technology design. 

Meanwhile, the tech giant outsources all manufacturing of its designs to trusted, highly-specialized manufacturers in countries such as China, Korea, and Taiwan. There’s not only a cost advantage to doing so, but it also enables faster production times and the ability to mobilize quickly to meet surges in demand. 

“Some of the largest and most well-known hardware companies are not manufacturing at all anymore,” says Thomas Hoffmeister, Chief Commercial Officer at KREATIZE. For example, Apple uses what we’d call an outsourcing model that requires building a robust, Tier 1 supply network—something Apple undoubtedly has the resources and production volume to do. But smaller hardware companies typically don’t have the ability, time, or resources to do the same. “Without a certain production quantity, many of the top suppliers won’t even speak with you,” explains Zod B. Mehr, Chief Supply Chain Officer at KREATIZE and a former Apple and Dell executive.

Democratizing Access to High-quality Supply Networks

With new tools, such as cloud manufacturing, this is all changing. 

Cloud manufacturing facilitates the manufacturing process without needing to invest in machinery or set up a supply chain, essentially democratizing access to high-quality supply networks through a plug-and-play-solution that requires no investment. It no longer matters how big or small a company is, it will have access to top-notch, quality services through the cloud. This allows next-generation hardware companies to focus exclusively on the design, engineering, and marketing of their products. 

Until now, only companies with big bulk orders have had access to the very best manufacturing services. This is a closed group where businesses create a competitive edge by developing a supply chain. “It’s a polarizing thesis, but I believe no hardware company in the future will be able to differentiate themselves via their supply chain or their manufacturing capabilities,” says CEO & Co-Founder of KREATIZE, Simon Tuechelmann. “The disadvantages of being a small company with a limited supply network are disappearing thanks to cloud manufacturing.”

Hardware Product Development with Cloud Manufacturing


There’s no question that the next generation of hardware companies will be radically different as a result of cloud manufacturing. They will become leaner by effectively having less assets to operate and by placing increasingly more orders on cloud manufacturing platforms. Identifying reliable partner manufacturers will also become much easier due to the flexible supply networks and services provided by cloud manufacturing, according to Professor Lin Zhang, Director of Beihang University’s Cloud Manufacturing Center. 

“This will give next-generation hardware companies their competitive edge,” predicts Zhang. “A stronger ability to customize manufacturing to better meet different demands.” And they will be able to focus solely on their core competencies. 

For instance, let’s say you have a drone company that wants to take a payload to underserved areas. With cloud manufacturing, this company can focus solely on the design and prototyping of their drone. They don’t need to focus on who’s going to build the propeller or other parts, they’re going to design the propeller and have someone else build it. 

Freedom From Capital Investments

Without the burden of machines, companies are free to experiment and innovate their products. No longer married to materials and processes resulting from previous capital investments, the priority will be the product and easy access to manufacturing services. 

Let’s say a company manufactured its first-generation product with a specific type of material or process, but later realized that they could improve the product’s performance and reduce their production costs if they switched to a different material or process. Had they built up a machine park for the original material with specific processes, they likely couldn’t explore new material or process options or create new prototypes to justify their big upfront investment, which in turn limits their ability to innovate. It would be vastly more difficult to continue innovating and making incremental changes to improve the product. With cloud manufacturing, changing the material is as simple as adjusting your order and placing a new one with a different material. 

Accessing quality manufacturing services through the cloud levels the playing field by lowering the financial barriers to entry, and in turn gives hardware businesses more control, allowing their ingenuity and product development effort to become the crucial ingredient for their success.  

Product (Not Manufacturing) Driven Businesses

Hardware could very well enter a renaissance in the coming years. As next-generation hardware companies accelerate the speed of developing new and improved products, manufacturing costs will likely also decline. The combination of time and cost savings set up the perfect conditions for more substantial – and specialized – investments in product development. “Specialization means better products for less costs,” says Tuechelmann. 

“In the past, hardware companies were obsessed with knowing everything about manufacturing. The future hardware companies are not like this at all,” according to Tuechelmann. Instead, they’re all about the product. As we can see with a company like Apple, this emphasis on being product-driven can lead to revolutionary new products in the market.

It’s Time to Get On Board 

If you’re a traditional company with a large procurement team and legacy systems, can you become a next generation hardware business? Absolutely. It’s not a matter of if, but when you make the shift in order to remain competitive. It doesn’t matter if you’re an established business or nascent startup, in the end, you need to embrace the next generation of hardware development. The sooner you do it, the better. Not only to save money but also to increase your speed of product development and keep up in today’s competitive market. 

In the increasingly digital and connected product development industry, businesses need to consider some important questions:

What type of business are we at the core? What value are we creating? What is our business model going to be in the future? How will we make money in the future?   

Once you’ve established this, you can begin to find places where you can decrease your resources invested—for instance in traditional manufacturing practices that require a lot of resources and bound capital. With new technologies like cloud manufacturing, you can free up this capital and put the investment into one of the core competencies you’ve identified, and begin creating real value for consumers. 

Do you want to learn more about how you could begin to incorporate cloud manufacturing in your company? Download our Playbook: Bringing Hardware Products To Market Faster With Cloud Manufacturing. This playbook will provide you with a practical framework for getting your products to market faster, and at a lower cost with cloud manufacturing.

Is Hardware the “New Software”?

Hardware development is becoming less expensive and more agile. The speed at which products can now be made is astounding, with the technologies available to produce them becoming more accessible than ever before. According to experts, this is also fuelling innovation and investments in the sector.

In 2013, legendary investor Marc Andreseen expressed a certain bullishness over the resurgence of hardware startups during a Pandomonthly event. His optimism was reserved, as he disagreed with statements being made about hardware becoming like software. 

“The problem is that hardware companies are much harder to build and scale than software companies,” Andreseen said, according to Pando. “It’s called hardware for a reason,” he concluded. 

Flash forward eight years and hardware, although still “hard,” is becoming “softer,” as a result of new technologies. Hardware products can now be built faster and more affordably.  With demand for hardware continually increasing and the ongoing need for digital interfaces in a post-COVID world, we can expect this space to continue to grow. 

“What is going to happen to hardware is what happened to software-based business models earlier on. If you dont take control now, you will be controlled,” Christoph Bornschein, CEO of TLGG, said  at KREATIZE’s Launchpad event on June 10th. “That is always the worst thing that can happen.” 

Bornschein further added that hardware companies should take part in discussions around cloud manufacturing and supply chain transparency, and be aware of the changes taking place in traditional asset ownership, as this new way of operating businesses is going to have an effect. 

Hardware startups are among the first in the business to benefit from the increasing agility and speed of their product development processes. Because they lack the hardwired structure of many established companies, they are able to more easily leverage new technologies and solutions to dramatically improve their time to market. 

“Software is different from hardware,” explained  Philipp Sonnleitner, CIO & Founder of Mikme, the Vienna-based company behind a series of powerful and sleekly designed compact audio recorders. “Even with new technologies, for hardware, fast means months of development. Fast in software is just days.” 

Mikme was able to bring one of their products to market in 9-months, which is “lightning fast” for hardware, where years are standard. 

“The bad part about hardware is you have to physically move things from A to B,” said Sonnleitner. “With software the logistics are easy, you just have to download things. ”

With the advent of new technologies, such as cloud manufacturing, businesses can now access global manufacturing capacities to help them scale faster, while minimizing global non-market risks and reducing distances for shipping. 

“Cloud manufacturing provides access to global machining capacities and helps you reduce the time and cost to build a very high quality supply network in local markets,” said Simon Tuechelmann, CEO of KREATIZE. “You will still need to build your assembly production and set up your logistics, but cloud manufacturing offers a plug and play solution to accessing a top notch supply network.” 

Cloud manufacturing is also lowering the financial barriers of entry for hardware product companies, as they no longer need to invest in machinery or developing their own supply chain. This cuts the time to market and allows businesses to start building faster. 

“Cloud manufacturing is one of the most revolutionary components of the 4th industrial revolution. It provides easy access and control of industrial machines without having to make large upfront investments,” said Gisbert Ruhl, former CEO of Klockner in an exchange with KREATIZE, where he encouraged people to download our recent playbook to learn more about cloud manufacturing. “Hardware businesses need to learn more about cloud manufacturing if they want to remain competitive,” he affirmed. 

The added speed, flexibility, and improved technology now available to hardware product developers is helping hardware startups remain buoyant despite the challenges of hardware. 

Christian Dahlen, VP at SAP and a seasoned angel investor, told KREATIZE at Launchpad that raising money for a hardware startup is still challenging because of the substantial investment required. Especially when compared to the requirements  for software. However, he also expressed optimism, and believes that the market for hardware investments is in a healthier state today than it was 10 years ago, citing the influence of very visible players in this space, such as Elon Musk, who has made big investments in hardware (e.g. Tesla, SpaceX, etc.) 

“Everyone likes to touch physical objects, there is something about the tactile experience,” said Dahlen. “Right now there are a plethora of hardware startups,” he affirmed. 

Bottom line: Hardware might not be like software yet, but it is undergoing a transformation. This transformation is allowing businesses to make products faster and cheaper—a type of change which led to the golden age of software.

Take a step towards a faster and cheaper hardware development experience by creating your account with KREATIZE Manufacturing Services or by making an appointment with one of our cloud manufacturing specialists today

Want to stay up to date with content on cloud manufacturing and hardware innovation? Sign up for our monthly newsletter: Cloud Manufactured.

KREATIZE.COM Gets a Redesign

New website is part of company strategy to create a more seamless experience for customers and other stakeholders.

KREATIZE recently went live with its new website for desktop and mobile users, marking an important milestone in the company’s mission to provide a manufacturing experience the world loves. 

During the various project phases, the company remained focused on its main goal: to enable a hassle-free manufacturing experience.

In KREATIZE’s belief, this could only be achieved through the application of Cloud Manufacturing principles, whose primary goal is to facilitate transparent, sustainable, and effective manufacturing.

In consequence, the newly re-launched website including its design and content was developed based on having a complete understanding of the customer and other stakeholder needs. The company then built applicable user flows for each of them, ensuring that users get what they come for promptly and without any distraction.

This resulted in the company website now offering extensive content on:

1. The functions and benefits of the full-service-platform KMS (KREATIZE Manufacturing Services)

2. Introducing stakeholders to KREATIZE’s great team of world-class mechanical engineers, data -and software experts 

3. Providing a resource and content hub for all topics surrounding the hardware product life cycle and Cloud Manufacturing

In the future, KREATIZE will further extend its efforts to provide maximum information transparency and ease of use by adapting its content to further formats including audio and video. 

The new website underlines KREATIZE’s steady and successful company growth and dedication to being a thought leader and first-mover in the world of Cloud Manufacturing, which will dominate the future of the industry.  

For more information on KREATIZE please refer to our company section or contact us at

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Going Glocal: What is Glocality and How Can Cloud Manufacturing Help?

Global businesses must adapt to local markets in order to find success. Hardware businesses are no different, and need to take advantage of technologies available to leverage the benefits of glocality for their business. 

“The world is getting smaller,”  is a common expression nowadays. 

Technology has enabled us to literally move from point A to B with immense speed. It has similarly accelerated innovation and industry evolution at a similar rate. Technology allows businesses today to expand quickly and maintain constant contact via telecommunications and the digital revolution. This is globalization. 

Despite all of this, the world still remains a highly complex place with tight borders  and long distances between places. This means businesses must still think locally when implementing their global strategies. In other words, businesses must embrace glocality and have a solid understanding of what it means to do good business in today’s glocalized world.  

At KREATIZE, we believe glocality is  one of the 10 most important issues affecting the manufacturing industry today. See our full list of issues to consider for 2021.  

What is glocality? 

Glocalization is a combination of the words “globalization” and “localization.” It is used to describe a service or product that is made and distributed globally, but adjusted to better accommodate the customer in a local market. For manufacturing, it is when global hardware companies produce locally to better meet demand.  

“Glocality describes the fact that business operate globally, but need to adapt to local requirements,” said Simon Tüchelmann, CEO & Co-Founder of KREATIZE GmbH in the above interview on glocality. “In the context of manufacturing, this might mean to produce products locally, in order to adapt to security requirements or tariffs” 

Why is glocality important now? 

Glocality is an important topic of discussion within the manufacturing industry for several reasons, but primarily due to: high tariffs, carbon footprint concerns, global events, and time-to-market. 

Tariffs have been increasing in many parts of the world. This is the result of global trade wars between important players such as the US, China and the EU. Political decisions have a direct impact on the cost of producing goods  and the price of importing them from one place to another. 

“The increase in tariffs on imported goods is forcing companies to produce in local markets,” said Tüchelmann. 

By having local production sites companies can manufacture locally and circumvent tariffs on imported goods, allowing them to remain competitive from a price standpoint. 

“The location of production becomes more important because of all these national movements,” said Martin Ohneberg, CEO of HENN, a tier 1 automotive supplier in his talk at our Launchpad Austria event. “For small and medium companies like HENN it is really important to have manufacturing sites in other countries.”

HENN currently has operations in China and is exploring the idea of manufacturing in the  US, according to Ohneberg. 

A desire to decrease our carbon footprint has also pushed the topic of glocality to center stage. In fact, according to a study by the Reuters Institute, “69% of respondents believed that climate change was a very or extremely serious problem.” This shared concern is impacting business decisions and shaping consumer demands as well as legislation. Working with local production sites helps companies lower their CO2 footprint, as transportation costs for goods and materials decrease.   

“The higher importance of CO2 footprint is pushing people and companies to produce locally,” said Tüchelmann. 

Global events with a drastic impact on supply chains are also influencing hardware  companies to shift their production and expand across borders. Such events affect the global supply chain, making a more resilient and decentralized approach to manufacturing essential. 

“The past 1.5 years during the Corona pandemic and the Suez canal crisis show us that logistics costs and disruptions can heavily impact the global supply chain,” said Tüchelmann. “Companies have had to think about different ways of producing, such as with local production.” 

Time-to-market is yet another increasingly important reason why glocality needs to be top of mind for hardware businesses.

“Something I think is very important is the time-to-market for your specific product,” said  Tüchelmann. “By producing at a local level you can adapt the  production of any given product very quickly in order to keep up with demand.”

How can cloud manufacturing help hardware companies deal with glocality? 

To develop an effective glocal supply network by traditional means is a costly endeavour. It could require setting up assembly lines and hiring several people to man various operations, source new partners, and ensure quality. In other words, it’s a very cumbersome process that is both expensive and time consuming.

“Cloud manufacturing provides access to global machining capacities and helps you reduce the time and cost to build a very high quality supply network in local markets,” said Tuchelmann. “You will still need to build your assembly production and set up your logistics, but cloud manufacturing offers a plug and play solution to accessing a top notch supply network.” 

How can I access a cloud manufacturing network? 

At KREATIZE we offer one of the most comprehensive cloud manufacturing networks in the world. We have extensive experience helping companies incorporate our network into their business strategy and can work with you on custom part procurement in a very lean and expedient fashion. 

“One thing that is really important to understand is that cloud manufacturing does not require any investment,” emphasized Tuchelmann. “You basically get the advantage of a global network of manufacturing capacities without any dollar or euro investment. This is very attractive and can be implemented in 2 weeks.” 

Bottom line: an easy and inexpensive way to make glocality work to your advantage is through the effective use of cloud manufacturing. 

Start now by creating your account for KREATIZE Manufacturing Services or by making an appointment with one of our cloud manufacturing specialists today.  

Want to be kept up to date with content on cloud manufacturing and hardware innovation? Then sign up for our newsletter: Cloud Manufactured. 

Recap of Launchpad – Empowering Hardware Startups That Change The World

Recap of Launchpad – Empowering Hardware Startups That Change The World

The third installment of our Launchpad series concluded with a record number of attendees and speakers! Attendees took part in an engaging collection of talks centered on hardware startups, innovation, product development and business strategy. 

On June 10th we had the pleasure of hosting our third KREATIZE Launchpad event. The theme for this event was “Empowering Hardware Startups That Change the World”. We had an all-star roster of speakers, and over 100participants from 10+ countries. We are so excited to see this platform continue to gain traction, and we’re proud to say this was our most successful launchpad so far. 

“Hardware is hard, there is a lot of truth to that, but if we have a strong community we can make it easier. If this launchpad can achieve that, we have made a step forward,” said Simon Tuechelmann, CEO & Co-Founder of KREATIZE at the start of the event. 

Delving  deep into the topic of starting a hardware business, our speakers provided valuable insights and recommendations for finding success in this rewarding (but challenging) field. Their insights were both practical and forward thinking for anyone looking to start or grow a hardware startup. The three hour event was broken up into four sessions with themes related to the diverse journey of establishing a hardware product related business: 

  • Session 1:  Success Stories from The Best Hardware Founders 
  • Session 2:  How to Make a Hardware Investment Attractive – Derisking 
  • Session 3: How to Bring Your Product to Market – Manufacturing
  • Session 4: Beers with Peers – Networking 

We thoroughly enjoyed the high level of engagement in the chat and Q&A throughout the event. 

Here were the key takeaways from our speakers:

Build a Strong Network

Christoph Bornschein, CEO of the agency for digital business TLGG kicked off the first session. The seasoned entrepreneur provided an overview on hardware and digitization and asset-based value creation in digital ecosystems. Bornschein crystallised the state of the hardware industry from a macro perspective, and cautioned that hardware is going through a lot of changes and companies must evolve with the current technologies when developing new products or face losing their business. 

“What is going to happen to hardware is what happened to software based businesses models earlier on, if you don’t take control now you will be controlled,” said Bornschein. “That is always the worst thing that can happen.”

Watch the full interview with Christoph Bornschein here:

Stefan Klocke – Volocopter

Stefan Klocke, shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Volocopter GmbH, the urban air mobility company behind some of the most advanced electric air taxi vehicles, offered practical advice to those at the helm of a hardware business. He emphasized the importance of partners and working together with companies that can help you in areas that are not your core competencies.

“Find the right partners. We are a small company so we could not develop on our own,” said Klocke. “You need supporters.”

Watch the full-interview with Stefan Klocke here:

Pascal Blum – unu Motors

To round out the first session, we were joined by Pascal Blum, Co-founder and CEO of unu motors, the company behind one of the most exciting electric scooters currently on the market. Blum highlighted the complexity of developing a new product from scratch and needing to follow two distinct product development methodologies—standard automotive development processes and an agile approach to software development. He further emphasized the importance of networking with other hardware startups. 

“It is really good to network and get to know other hardware companies,” said Blum. He reminded listeners that most hardware startups are facing similar challenges and are not direct competitors. 

Watch the full-interview with Pascal Blum here:

Make Hardware Investments Attractive By Derisking 

Christian Dahlen – SAP / Band of Angels

Christian Dahlen kicked off the second session of Launchpad. Dahlen is a VP at SAP and a seasoned angel investor. In his opinion, raising money for a hardware startup is particularly challenging due to the substantial investment required. But he is also optimistic that the market for hardware investments is in a healthy state, in part thanks to certain very visible players, such as Elon Musk, making bold investments in this space.  

“Everyone likes to touch physical objects, there is something about the tactile experience,” said Dahlen. “Right now there are a plethora of hardware startups.” 

Watch the full-interview with Christian Dahlen here: 

Daniel Spitzbarth – Technologiewerkstatt

Daniel Spitzbarth, Head of Technologiewerkstatt in Albstadt and Business Design Coach at Tech Startup School, spoke about how hardware startups and corporations can benefit from each other.  By working with corporates, startups can not only gain a client, but also a potential investor and partner. He cautioned that startups must not only think about making a great product, but also their business. 

“First of all think business, because a product is not enough,” said Spitzbarth. “A lot of startups have great concepts or products, but they miss the business idea.”

Watch the full-interview with Daniel Spitzbarth here:

Krzysztof Mikoda – SquadTec

Krzysztof (Chris) Mikoda , CEO of SquadTec and former JUMP Engineering Center Manager, shared how the use of scrum is accelerating hardware product development, highlighting that using scrum at the right time is also important to yielding great results when it comes to product development. “Scrum really works well in the early stages,” said Mikoda. “When you don’t want to change too much, when you want a stable platform, then this agility is not the best alliance in my opinion.” 

Watch the full interview with Krzysztof (Chris) Mikoda here:

Julia Luksan & Christiane Feichter – Jarolim Partner Rechtsanwälte

At the end of the second session we were joined by Julia Luksan, Attorney at Law, and Christiane Feichter, Associate at Jarolim Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH, to discuss intellectual property issues. These two experts gave us a solid overview on the many legal aspects that we should take into account when developing new hardware products, including copyrights, patents, and intellectual property issues. 

Watch the full presentation by Julia Luksan and Christiane Feichter here:

Bring your product to market with Cloud Manufacturing

Simon Tüchelmann – KREATIZE

Our talks concluded with Simon Tüchelmann, CEO & Co-founder of KREATIZE. Tuchelmann highlighted the many ways cloud manufacturing can help accelerate the innovation process of hardware products. We are at a unique point in time, as technologies now give people easy access to quality global manufacturing capacities. 

“All great innovators have heavily relied on custom part manufacturing,” said Tuechelmann. “For the first time ever, builders have access to manufacturing services at the click of a button.” 

Watch the full presentation by Simon Tüchelmann here:

Fabio Sulser – KREATIZE

Fabio Sulser, Tech Lead Data & Automation at KREATIZE, shared how cloud manufacturing lowers the entry barriers for hardware startups. He provided a brief tutorial on how KREATIZE’s technology and cloud manufacturing network can assist startups in their journey to develop game-changing products with less up-front cost. 

Watch the full presentation by Fabio Sulser here:

We’re not done yet! There are more Launchpads to come this year.

The lively exchange during the event and the feedback we received after, proved to us yet again that there is a real demand for such events. We will continue to host more Launchpads in the future with innovators and thought leaders from the hardware and manufacturing sector! Stay tuned for more details on our next event!

Want to be kept up to date with content on cloud manufacturing and hardware innovation? Then sign up for our newsletter: Cloud Manufactured.

The Art of De-Risking Your Hardware Startup

Every startup inherently possesses a significant amount of risk, and mitigating risks is crucial to ensure a better outcome for your startup. Here are some strategies to de-risk a startup, including finding the right partners to help you grow your business.

We are living in a golden age of software.

Never has it been easier to develop and scale cutting-edge software. Hardware, the interface and tool by which all software becomes useful, remains much more complex to produce on the other hand. Because of its intricacy, hardware requires more steps, roles, processes, tools, and therefore risk.  

It’s important that we overcome this complexity because hardware is an indispensable part of the ongoing technological advancements in today’s society.  In a time where the internet-of-things (IoT) is fastly becoming reality, it is crucial to understand that hardware is a key component in this technological trend. 

Nils Berger, CEO of Viewpointsystem, and Thomas Hoffmeister, Chief Commercial Officer at KREATIZE GmbH highlighted this in their discussion at Launchpad Austria, calling hardware “the T in IoT”. 

Click here to watch the full interview with Nils Berger.

Manufacturing is a technology-based industry that is always evolving, making an ongoing understanding of current trends and cutting-edge technologies paramount for success. Hardware is not as easy to update as software and therefore must be built with more longevity in mind. Ideally hardware should be built in an agile fashion where it can be constantly optimized at the prototype stage for a more successful scale-up.

Hardware product development is not easy, in part due to the high-risk and up-front costs associated. This is all changing, however, as new technologies are helping hardware entrepreneurs de-risk their startups by making it faster and easier to take their products from prototypes to scale-ups.

What is De-Risking?

De-risking means decreasing the chance of harm, danger, or failure of your business. One of the best ways startups can de-risk is by effectively focusing on their core competencies and attaining  external partners for their non-core strengths. 

The term de-risking has its origins in finance and refers to the practice of ending or setting certain parameters with clients or types of clients, in order to better handle the risk associated with them. For example, requiring a client to buy a type of insurance to offset the risk on a loan. This can be something like requiring an importing company to acquire transportation insurance for their long-trek products from China.  In the case of hardware startups, the risk is not necessarily on the choosing of clients. Rather, in the choosing of their in-house strengths and know when to leverage partners to handle the areas where they have less expertise. 

“De-risking for hardware startups means deciding to take on external partners to perform business tasks unrelated to your core product development process,” said Thomas Hoffmeister, Chief Commercial Officer at KREATIZE GmbH. “Investors like it when you present them with solutions that will not only save money, but also take care of necessary processes efficiently.”

How Do You De-Risk a Startup? 

A lean startup is one that focuses on developing a particular product or company that meets the explicit desires of the market.  Lean startups often make use of partners to acquire particular services in an effort to use less capital and de-risk while they pursue growth. Finding such a partner can substantially lower your product development costs and time-to-market. 

“Lean hardware startups find ways to test the market with fewer resources,” said Hoffmeister. “The risk is the same, but in terms of investment, it is drastically different. It is the difference between setting up a costly production line with many machines or obtaining the same result with none of that.” 

For example, in the early 2000s, U.S automaker Tesla was a startup with expertise in developing two key components of a car: an electric powered engine and a battery. Instead of setting out to build every component of the car itself, it partnered with Lotus Cars to create the Tesla Roadster (first generation). Lotus provided all necessary elements for a successful car assembly, while Tesla focused entirely on its key differentiating components.

“Tesla did not know how to build cars, so they went to an expert,” said Hoffmeister. “Had they tried to build an entire car themselves, they might have run out of money faster. By working with Lotus they de-risked.” 

Tesla went on to create later generations of their cars themselves. However, at this initial stage, the partnership with Lotus Cars was crucial to their success. They were able to de-risk with the right partner to prove their concept and gain the strength and success to go at it alone in the future. 

In the world of hardware, startups are offering solutions to better manage risk when it comes to developing a supply network quickly. Most large hardware businesses are highly rigid and secretive about their supply networks. Developing such a network is a very expensive process, and many companies fail in part because of the time and money required to develop it. 

“Startups are the ones offering de-risking solutions for this challenge,” explained Hoffmeister. “The big players in the hardware industry still rely on old models and are not providing the solutions for startups.”

How To De-Risk Your Hardware Startup With KREATIZE 

Hardware startups have a strong product development I.Q. They have a good understanding of what is required to make a game-changing product. However, there are parts of the development equation where they lack knowledge and where it is expensive for them to develop inhouse resources. 

“Startups are very good at figuring out what their hardware product should be,” said Hofffmeister. “Manufacturing it, finalizing it, and bringing it to market—these are areas where they need help.” 

By partnering up with KREATIZE, hardware startups will decrease their risk and drastically cut their procurement and supply network costs of acquiring custom parts. 

KREATIZE can fully handle all of a startup’s custom part needs via our software and manufacturing network. All a startup needs to do is upload their custom parts drawings, configure its specifications,  and place an order. The parts will then arrive quickly at their chosen location. 

“Ultimately a hardware startup should want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible with the fewest resources,” said Hoffmeister. “By choosing to develop your own supply network the upfront costs and time-to-market become much higher. Setting up a quality custom parts procurement network simply takes time.”

In a way, KREATIZE can do what Lotus did for Tesla from a supply network perspective. A startup brings us in as an experienced partner who can handle its procurement needs for custom parts with ease. This allows it to de-risk by not needing to set up their own supply network,  much like Tesla would have faced if they had tried to make a full car from scratch without partnering with someone who could help them. 

“Startups must de-risk as much as possible to succeed,” concludes Hoffmeister. “With  KREATIZE, a company is de-risking by plugging into a cloud network and skipping the expensive and time-consuming efforts of procurement and developing a supply network. Our KREATIZE team becomes your partner to better configure your custom parts.”

Are you a hardware startup that is looking to De-risk?

Our mission at KREATIZE is to provide manufacturing that the world loves. 

This means helping your startup succeed from prototype to scale up, and de-risk as much as possible by providing your engineers with the tools to create products quickly and without cumbersome procurement processes. With our proprietary and patented software, KREATIZE uses the power of cloud manufacturing to give you access to the best industrial facilities and in the process helps you mitigate all supply-related risks.

Start now by creating your account for KREATIZE Manufacturing Services or by making an appointment with one of our cloud manufacturing specialists today

Want to stay up to date with content on cloud manufacturing and hardware innovation? Then sign up for our newsletter: Cloud Manufactured.

Cloud Manufacturing & The 4th Industrial Revolution

The manufacturing industry is undergoing a significant shift in technologies and capabilities. Cloud manufacturing is a key pillar in this exciting technological revolution, and we would like to explain why the cloud is fueling this industrial revolution.

We are currently at the start of the 4th industrial revolution. 

For hardware businesses, this is an exciting time to be around. Technologies are making the process of manufacturing more accessible and affordable than ever before. It does not matter whether you are a big or small hardware business, the changes within the industry provide all hardware companies the opportunity to make better products faster.  

This is not the first time such big changes have occured in the manufacturing industry. Radical shifts have taken place throughout human history. The first in modern day was in the 18th century when mechanization began to replace manual labor. 

This was then followed by the technological revolution, from the early 20th century through the first world war, which brought electrical power to manufacturing. This allowed for high-volume production and labor division. 

Then came the 3rd shift in the 1970s, when automation entered the scene through the use of electronics. The introduction of robotics also began during this era, increasing  the process of production, and reducing the cost of labor by enabling repeatable tasks.  

Now, the manufacturing industry has entered a 4th revolution, fueled by digitization. 

A key pillar in this new industrial revolution is cloud manufacturing. Cloud manufacturing uses the principles of cloud computing to connect a diverse set of machines in factories. It offers on-demand access to manufacturing services with pricing on a pay-per-use basis. This allows hardware businesses to skip buying, owning, and maintaining physical machines on their shop floors, because it provides them with access to core manufacturing services (such as CNC turning, CNC milling, 3D-printing, sheet-metal laser-cutting, and many more) at the click of a button from anywhere in the world.  

Cloud manufacturing has also been developed to cover all aspects of the product life cycle. It can be used during the design stage, low or high volume production phases, and during the ramp-up stage. This is important, as it allows hardware companies to be completely serviced at every stage of the production process, as they grow or adjust to changes in demand. 

Cloud manufacturing as a concept was first proposed by a group of academics led by Prof. Bo Hu Li and Prof. Lin Zhang in 2009 in a paper called “Cloud Manufacturing: A New Service-Oriented Networked Manufacturing Model”. Since the introduction of the concept as a nascent technology, more than 800 hundred papers have been published on the topic. The thought leadership on this topic now highlights the holistic advancement of this new technology from concept to reality, and covers both macro topics like future trends in cloud manufacturing, and also more focused subjects such as scheduling and cybersecurity. 

We are still in the early stages of cloud manufacturing, but you can already see the profound effects across the hardware industry. In fact, this could be a tipping point in how companies both big and small are making use of the cloud to develop better new products faster and at a lower cost. 


Why is cloud manufacturing a key pillar of the next Industrial Revolution?

Cloud manufacturing significantly broadens access to industrial technology, production capabilities, and development processes for hardware businesses. It fundamentally disrupts the way engineers make products, establishing a new paradigm for the hardware industry.  

Cloud manufacturing further amplifies other technological shifts by enabling seamless access to new technologies available and bringing digitization and automation to the shop floor level. Local manufacturers have an immediate incentive to digitize in order to  meet the global demand coming to them through this new technology. This is becoming the new  standard and is an indispensable approach for attaining and servicing hardware clients.  

Cloud manufacturing is being adopted by more and more businesses because of its ability to provide four key benefits: agility, elasticity, cost savings, and seamless global scaling. 


Let’s take a closer look at these benefits: 


The cloud gives hardware businesses the ability to produce a prototype in minutes with access to technologies and services that allow them to build on an as-needed basis, with just a few clicks. With this seamless access, hardware businesses can benefit from a wider variety of manufacturing services and capacities. A plethora of options gives them room to experiment with different processes and materials to enhance their products and production processes. 

By using cloud manufacturing, hardware businesses are no longer bound to a single technology when it comes to making their products. The cloud gives them the opportunity to adjust or use newly available technologies at the click of a button. They’re no longer shackled to specific technologies due to lack of access or costly investments in their own machines.  Hardware businesses are also provided with more opportunities to introduce design for manufacturability (DfMA) practices at the very early stage of their product’s life cycle.  

This newfound agility, in turn, allows hardware businesses to launch their products to market faster than ever before. 



With cloud manufacturing, hardware businesses no longer need to plan ahead and over-stock on resources to be able to meet future surges in demand. Instead, they can  stock the optimal level of resources needed to operate and have access to all the necessary manufacturing resources that they require in the cloud. These resources can be easily modified based on their business needs.

Cost  Savings

One of the most revolutionary aspects of cloud manufacturing is its effect on costs. The high up-front costs associated with machinery and quality manufacturing are eliminated. 

Previously, only high-volume hardware companies had access to the best manufacturing services in the world. Through the cloud, it does not matter if you are in the prototype, low-volume, or mass production stage—great manufacturing is available to you at the click-of-a button. 

Cloud manufacturing also lowers the bar for hardware businesses in terms of capital investment. It allows them to trade capital expenses (such as machines and real estate) for variable expenses, giving them a way to pay only for the manufacturing services they consume. Variable expenses are much lower due to economies of scale, rather than having to build it yourself.

Global  Scaling

With cloud manufacturing, hardware businesses can scale their production seamlessly and expand their business globally in minutes. Adding a new assembly-facility, say in China, does not require building a whole new manufacturing plant, or developing a Chinese supplier network. The cloud offers access to global manufacturing services with a click. In other words, immediate access to quality manufacturing plants all over the world that are ready to meet their bespoke demands. 

Why is the cloud so revolutionary? 

The cloud is fueling a more powerful industrial revolution because it ultimately does one thing: democratizes manufacturing. 

It levels the playing field and gives hardware businesses large and small more control over their future, leaving ingenuity and effort all that stand in the way of their prosperity. 

This revolution is unlike the many before it because it opens more doors and provides access to more businesses. Manufacturing is no longer a closed group, but a place where anyone with a bright idea and some effort, can build a great product. 

We are excited to be a contributor to this revolution at KREATIZE. Our service offering is designed to provide all hardware businesses with the capacity to take full advantage of these changes in the industry. If you are interested in joining us in our mission to fundamentally change the world of manufacturing, then please set up a meeting with a member of our team now.

Top 5 Manufacturing Challenges For Large Hardware Businesses

Large players within the hardware world have a unique set of manufacturing challenges they must overcome in order to ensure their long-term success. KREATIZE can help address these unique manufacturing problems. Allow us the opportunity to show you how!

Innovation and grit are what got every large business to its privileged position.

This is particularly true in the hardware business where success is heavily tied to a deep understanding of technology, product development methodologies, and supply management. However, maintaining that sense of innovation can be hard for large businesses, whose structured approach tends to get sturdier with time.

Traditional manufacturing is an expensive process that requires heavy investments and a high-operating cost. It also requires a large group of trained interdisciplinary teams to manage and execute the manufacturing systems in place. Because of the complexity, and capital-intensive nature of the business, risk, and change are often not well embraced within large hardware companies.

Large hardware businesses face distinct challenges when it comes to growth, digitization, and maintaining a competitive advantage. KREATIZE was created to help both small and large hardware businesses with a platform that allows them to pursue a more agile product development process, by digitizing the way custom parts are procured and manufactured.

Essentially, we provide agile solutions to critical issues for businesses that want to modernize their manufacturing supply chain to better meet the demands of the time. We help them drive innovation by bringing better products to market faster, more sustainably, and with a lower cost of entry. KREATIZE’s platform improves price transparency, removes bottlenecks that get in the way of product development, provides flexibility in adapting to market demand shifts, and guarantees quality control.

Here are the 5 main challenges that we often see established hardware companies face, and the solutions KREATIZE has developed to address them.  

1. Agile Product Development:

Large hardware companies have firm deadlines and processes for delivering products to market. This rigidity makes it difficult for them to adopt agile product development practices for prototype and low-volume manufacturing. It also makes it difficult for them to shed traditional design and procurement processes, as missed deadlines and delays have financial ramifications.

This strictness inhibits them from making enhancements to their products while they are still in development, which has a massive impact on their time-to-market. This results in a longer production schedule for new products, slowing the pace of innovation and limiting their chance at quick optimizations to meet market demands. By failing to properly introduce agile product development practices into their organizations, large hardware businesses put at risk their leadership positions by failing to create innovative products fast-enough.

For example, none of this is perhaps more obvious than with 17-year old Tesla’s agile product development strategy of making cars with less parts. Tesla’s have significantly fewer parts per vehicle — around 20 – in comparison to those with internal combustion engines, which have about 2,000. They are able to do this with the help of software on their exclusive hardware. This combination helps Tesla develop their cars faster, but also improve them with software updates every few weeks like a smartphone. Tesla’s are unlike traditional car-markers where their product does not upgrade or change for as long as it is being used.

Because of agile product development practices, Tesla is not tied to the standard minor vehicle upgrade product life cycle of 2 to 3 years, or the new car model introduction average of 4 to 7 years. Tesla can make changes to their current and future cars faster because of its strong agile product development practices. Tactics that have allowed it to build cars that can be more easily manufactured, and simultaneously improved.

Part of the problem that large businesses have is the ability to properly inject a new way of thinking in the organization, and resources for training employees in novel systems and processes.

They suffer from a legacy dilemma and are more focused on what has worked in the past, and have systems in place to ensure their legacy systems remain. However, large hardware companies can successfully integrate agility into their structured system over time. The trick is to do it incrementally by introducing intuitive technologies that foster agile product development gradually with specific new products at the prototype stage to ensure business continuity, and successful adoption.

How can KREATIZE help?

KREATIZE enables large hardware companies to immediately benefit from a platform that gives them the flexibility necessary to be more agile, by freeing them from an early design commitment and providing access to a large network of vetted suppliers with a plethora of manufacturing services.

In other words, it gives product designers and engineers an opportunity to adjust or enhance their products throughout the development cycle. Thereby removing some of the rigidity around traditional development processes that require an early commitment to a specific design trait (e.g. material, post-process).

KREATIZE customers do not need to completely overhaul their systems or build anything from scratch. In fact, new product development teams can easily start using our platform for specific parts, and can slowly integrate our services for other customized parts in their companies over time.

For example, engineers from large hardware businesses that are working on a new prototype can immediately begin to work with KREATIZE’s supply network, and receive their desired quality parts at the click of a button. They can skip the slow procurement processes meant for high-volume manufacturing and can quickly start to build their product. Allowing them to introduce design for manufacturability and assembly (DfMA) practices early on, which can speed up the production of their product as it goes from small to high volume. KREATIZE can substantially lower the time to market for a product, and  provide engineers with an agile platform that allows them to make enhancements.

Our system is also highly intuitive, and we will not only help businesses set it up, but we will also work with them to ensure they get the most out of it. It’s an easy way to inject agility into development processes without completely overhauling current systems, and creating a space for innovative teams to cut their time to market, by having the tools and space to work on their prototypes.

2. Procurement Bottleneck:

Large companies have a tendency to treat small orders just as they would big orders. This is a problem from a product development standpoint. Procurement professionals spend a disproportionate amount of time negotiating small purchase orders for a prototype and treat it much in the same way as they do the parts of an established high-volume product. The approval processes and workflows for large orders are not well suited for new product development. They might require several rounds of paperwork and dozens of calls with potential suppliers to determine who can meet the small-batch prototypes at a competitive price. These cumbersome procurement processes chip-away at valuable product development time, and are costly from a resource standpoint. To unblock procurement processes companies should consider using a digital platform that offers access to a network of manufacturers who can meet bespoke demands for custom parts without the back-and-forth of traditional procurement methods.

How can KREATIZE help?

KREATIZE gives engineers access to a network of capacities through a one-stop digital platform. It allows them to skip the sluggish procurement process entirely by providing immediate access to quality suppliers who can meet their product specificities and quantities. There is no time wasted on finding a supplier who can fulfill small batch sizes, negotiating a proper price, or ensuring quality. KREATIZE offers large businesses a way to quickly alleviate procurement bottlenecks with access to an agile network of suppliers who meet the demands for more flexible product development.

3. Silos:

As stated before, large businesses have well-defined processes for product development. Each phase of the process is typically handled in silos by certain departments, which can jeopardize effective communication and decision-making. This causes problems when there’s a gap in the information chain that impacts the entire supply chain. Silos restrict knowledge sharing, as goals for each department differ in terms of objectives, budgets, and responsibilities. By not understanding the goals of other departments, a silo is likely to dilute the common vision within the organization. This in turn can cause a series of systemic problems that affect all members of an organization and weaken the position of a company. 

Large hardware organizations have siloed procurement and product design development. Engineers are unable to discuss their prototypes or early product iterations in real-time with suppliers. This slows down the product life cycle, as procurement teams are bogged down with quotes and price negotiations that may not be necessary in the early product development stages.

This prevents engineers from attaining proper feedback, and from making quick adjustments to their product (for instance, changing a material or post-process) as they develop them. A platform that can provide engineers with access to seamless custom part ordering would be an ideal solution. This would provide them the feedback necessary to make adjustments more quickly and speed up the early development process.

How can KREATIZE help?

By working with KREATIZE, engineers can benefit from a one-click ordering platform for their specific custom parts. They will also get expert feedback on the drawings of their customized parts from our talented KREATIZE engineers, who will help them take advantage of new manufacturing technologies to produce these parts. They will be able to make adjustments throughout the entire development process, freeing them from early design commitments and from cumbersome procurement processes that are not tailored to prototyping or small-volume manufacturing. Our suggestions will help teams save money and speed up their go-to-market timelines, always with sustainability in mind.

4. Ramp-up:

Hardware businesses in today’s competitive environment face rapidly decreasing product life cycle timelines. As a result, handling production ramp-ups for new products efficiently is crucial for the long-term success of  a large hardware business. Ramp-ups are an increase in production ahead of an anticipated uptick in demand for a product. In order to do this, hardware companies traditionally have to face high upfront investments to purchase their own machines.  

As a result of this, large hardware businesses might face situations where the reality of the step function puts them in the difficult position of having to consider buying additional machinery that is hardly utilized, and in turn makes little financial sense. This makes it difficult for large hardware businesses to go from small batch to large series. Scaling basically becomes a much more difficult process as a result of all the investment required to meet the uptick in demand.

What could  be a solution to this challenge is making use of a cloud manufacturing network that has the capacity to deal effectively with small batches and the ramp-up demand at all times. A platform that allows large businesses to instantly grow when necessary. One that is ready to meet any type of demand, as it has many suppliers at its disposal, and that can offer efficient use on demand.

How can KREATIZE help? 

By working with KREATIZE, large hardware businesses benefit from our platform’s supply network and ability to meet both small batch and high-volume manufacturing simultaneously. Our large cloud network of manufacturing partners have enough machines to satisfy any volume of required seamlessly.  

Large hardware businesses do not need to  invest in expensive machinery, or run into step function issues, when working with a well-made cloud manufacturing network. With KREATIZE  companies gain access to a global supplier network high-caliber standards on an on-demand basis, which means that they will pay per usage, and not have to be concerned with issues of capacity and growth.

5. Blackbox Pricing:

When it comes to ordering customized parts, lack of transparency in pricing is an ongoing issue. Large hardware businesses typically order parts in bulk, meaning they likely do not have insight into the individual cost of each component, and ways where they could improve design or sourcing. Small incremental expenses from parts can really add up and have a serious impact on their bottom line. A solution to this problem would be to utilize a platform that provides clarity on cost calculations for each customized part purchased.

How can KREATIZE help?

KREATIZE offers full pricing transparency to our clients via open book calculations. This means that process and setup times for each individual component are clearly stated and available in the KREATIZE database. Businesses will also find the fixed hourly machine rates for their orders. KREATIZE bundles its orders to further ensure a lower price for each of our customer’s parts. Bundling also provides us with better customer service to address issues, and ensure access to the best resources from our manufacturing partners. 

Are you a large hardware business that needs to overcome these challenges? Do you need immediate and actionable solutions?

KREATIZE would love to work with you to ensure that your business maintains its leadership position. We understand the problems you are going through, and want you to benefit from the very best of today’s technology without having to completely overhaul your business.

KREATIZE provides manufacturing the world loves. We want to help your business enter the next generation with new tools, show your engineers the latest manufacturing innovations, and help you deliver your beloved products to the world with ease. KREATIZE’s patented and proprietary software leverages the power of cloud manufacturing to give you access to a large network of first-rate global suppliers.

Start now with your free account by making an appointment with one of our cloud manufacturing specialists today, and allow your business to enter the future of manufacturing.  Or by creating your account for KREATIZE Manufacturing Services today, and allow your hardware business to make a leap into the future of manufacturing.

Are you a startup in need of solutions to your challenges? Please read our article for startups to see how we can help you as well.

Top 5 Manufacturing Challenges For Hardware Startups


Hardware startups have a unique set of challenges they must overcome in order to find success. KREATIZE is a startup that was created in part to provide solutions to these distinctive problems. Allow us the opportunity to show you how!

Starting a business is always a challenge.

Starting a hardware business that requires manufacturing services perhaps even more so.


Manufacturing is a capital-intensive process that requires many factors and a sophisticated set of interdisciplinary teams to develop products. At its core, manufacturing is a technology-based industry that is constantly evolving as a result of improvements within its industrial processes. Therefore, a degree of agility is necessary in order to accurately meet the demands of the market. This flexibility is often naturally present in startups, but it can only be of value if they also possess some of the core elements of a mature manufacturing business.

Hardware startups have distinct challenges they must face on their journey to maturity. As a startup that helps these businesses, KREATIZE was created to transform the outdated and inefficient procurement processes of both small and large hardware businesses. We are also deeply familiar with some of the challenges faced by startups in this space. In fact, one of our main goals is to provide fellow startups with solutions to their specific problems as nascent businesses that require top-notch manufacturing services.

Here we would like to present you with the 5 main challenges hardware startups face, and how KREATIZE helps solve them.

1. Building The Right Supply Network:

Startups are naturally hyper-focused on their products. This product-centricity is actually one of their greatest strengths. Equally important, however, is developing the right network to have all the industrial components necessary to manufacture their products. This part of the equation takes a lot of time and resources to develop effectively though. This part of the process can chip away at their go-to-market timeline, and add expenses.

Startups usually lack the manpower to develop both their product and a superb supply network simultaneously. The due diligence, negotiations, and back-and-forth between potential suppliers and their business is an exhaustive process—one that shifts their focus from creating their products and revenue-generating activities.

How can KREATIZE help?

By working with KREATIZE a hardware startup will have immediate access to a network of audited suppliers and part manufacturers. This effectively liberates your company from request-for-quote (RFQ) processes, back-and-forth negotiations, and from having to develop the high-caliber supply network necessary to allow your business to operate effectively. We essentially allow startups to skip a painstaking part of the process, and provide them with better chances of success.

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2. Product Quality:

Another aspect that is very much tied to the supply network challenges discussed before is quality. Smaller companies often lack the resources to quickly find stable and quality suppliers. They also may not have the time and team expertise necessary to ensure quality supplies. Even upon finding the right suppliers, startups may lack the production volume to fully obtain the best service from them. Companies with larger bulk orders tend to experience better customer service, get preference for key talent, and as a result, get better overall quality from suppliers. We’ve seen many startups grow frustrated, rightfully so, as a result of their quality expectations not being met.

How can KREATIZE help?

By working with KREATIZE you will have access to our very own quality center. We are in close contact with each supplier, and work to ensure that your parts are being made the right way by our partners, thereby providing you with a high degree of quality assurance. At KREATIZE, we also bundle multiple orders from our clients and place them with our top-notch contract manufacturers. This has an obvious beneficial effect on lowering the price, but it also has a positive effect on quality. By bundling our orders, we get better customer service and access to our supplier’s key talent pools so we can ensure a better quality product. This allows us to provide startups with a way to get the same quality service as larger established players, from the very start of their development process.

3. Skilled Labor:

The manufacturing industry as a whole is struggling to recruit and maintain skilled laborers. Startups may feel this reality even more acutely, as established players often have more resources to attract the best candidates. The sheer fact that there is a skills gap across the industry also means that startups may have to work with less permanent or freelance talent, which can create additional operational complications.


How can KREATIZE help?

With KREATIZE you will be able to cut down your staffing needs and operate with a leaner team. For starters, your procurement needs will be almost entirely digitized and require less staff to operate effectively. You will also invest and build less manufacturing infrastructure that requires lots of manpower—you will find the suppliers you need with our proprietary cloud software. As stated before, by bundling, KREATIZE also gets better professionals from our top suppliers to work on your orders. The KREATIZE team acts as your partner throughout all of this. We will even help you review your component drawings to ensure you have the best product possible. Your engineers will get access to data from our cloud solution, allowing them to optimize their designs in real-time during the production process. KREATIZE provides your teams with insights and an agile platform for product innovation.

4. Systems Know-How:

Hardware startups usually have a high IQ in terms of product development and innovation. However, when it comes to actually setting up a system that can deliver their product within a proper time frame, they stumble. This is often because they lack experience in setting up high-volume manufacturing operations. The journey from initial vision to final product is a challenge for anyone, and startups may require more time or a more experienced partner to show them the ropes.


How can KREATIZE help? 

At KREATIZE we love working with hardware startups and have found that we can be the most helpful when we get involved from the beginning of a project. This way we can help them build supply capacity early on and address any problematic features within their initial component drawings. The latter is important because it allows us to assess any issues early on,  so we can recommend a material or part that may be more effective, and even less costly to make. These are insights that will allow your startup to scale more effectively. 

5. Scaling:

Speaking of scaling, in order for a startup to find success, it must bring itself to a position where it can foster and support the growth of its business. This means having the capacity to grow without major impediments, and the ability to gain greater market share and introduce new products to the market without major disruptions in business operations. This is the ultimate challenge for any startup and can only be attained after successfully tackling all of the previously stated challenges.


How can KREATIZE help?

In order to achieve growth at scale, a startup needs the right staff, systems, technology, supply chain, and partners. KREATIZE is a one-stop solution to help hardware startups address all of these factors. We provide everything you need to build a quality supply chain, access highly skilled labor, and manage procurement. Plus we offer a team of experts that is ready to give you valuable, real-time input as you design the components for your products. With all of this, we are offering you the agility necessary to scale your business and continuously improve your product, without fear of disturbing your existing business processes.

Are you a hardware startup that is looking to tackle these challenges? Do you have a problem in product development that needs immediate solutions?

Our mission at KREATIZE is to provide manufacturing that the world loves. This means helping your startup create innovative products, providing your engineers with the necessary tools to develop great products, and helping you to deliver your products to the world easily. With our proprietary and patented software, KREATIZE uses the power of cloud manufacturing to give you access to the very best industrial facilities through our expansive network of first-class suppliers.

Start now with your free account by making an appointment with one of our cloud manufacturing specialists today, and allow your business to enter the future of manufacturing.  Or by creating your account for KREATIZE Manufacturing Services today, and allow your hardware business to make a leap into the future of manufacturing..

Are you a large hardware business in need of solutions to your challenges? Please read our article for large hardware businesses to see how we can help you as well.

10 Issues Facing The Manufacturing Industry in 2021

The manufacturing industry had a year like none-other in 2020. Its core system was shaken by market volatility and the need for adaptation became immediate. So what challenges should manufacturing companies be contemplating in 2021? KREATIZE would like to share what we think are the 10 most important, and provide you with solutions to addressing them.

The manufacturing industry has been steadily moving towards its complete moment of disruption for some time. Old systems are being challenged by new players, and legacy companies are reinventing themselves to better address the needs of their customers.

As a manufacturing business, you essentially have two choices, either delay the inevitable and risk being left behind (or worse… face eventual bankruptcy), or adopt the right technologies to ensure your prosperity by taking on challenges head-on.  

Out of the many issues facing the industry we have been able to isolate the 10 most critical issues, we feel manufacturing companies should be considered when establishing their strategic goals in 2021 and beyond.

1. B2B E-Commerce:

We live in a time where we can purchase almost anything with a click of a button. E-commerce platforms are now ubiquitous in the B2C space. The ease they provide in managing services or products is leading those in the B2B space to crave such an experience as well. Therefore, a user-friendly B2B E-commerce strategy is becoming increasingly necessary for manufacturing businesses that want to better sell their products, or proc

ure the necessary components for manufacturing them. By establishing a B2B e-commerce system, manufacturing companies provide greater flexibility, better inventory management, and decrease the likelihood of human error.

2. Customer Service:

Manufacturing has remained incredibly analog as far as customer service goes. As a result, clients are naturally growing increasingly frustrated with having to pick-up the phone to contact manufacturers for customer service needs. The lack of digital self-service customer platforms within many manufacturing entities is a pain point that needs to be addressed by the industry. Creating an effective single point-of-contact to ensure customer needs will enhance the overall business process of manufacturing. This will also enhance retention, the feeling of transparency, and lifetime value for customers.

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3. Skills Gap:

The lack of a capable workforce continues to be a problem in manufacturing. New technologies require workers with up-to-date skills, proficiencies that the industry is struggling to retain and attract to meet current market demand. However, the existence of such a gap can also open the door for the increased use of technology for certain processes. This can in turn allow manufacturers to work in more agile teams with less manpower, and at a lower cost in the long run.

4. Cobots:

Robots are now a common presence across many manufacturing floors. Amongst these are so-called “cobots,” which are robots that collaborate with humans to perform specific tasks. Cobots offer a more agile solution to manufacturers as they are easily reprogrammed by factory workers. They are unlike industrial robots which require an engineer to write new code. Cobots can take on repetitive tasks and handle more risky assignments, allowing skilled workers to focus on more nuanced tasks that cannot be automated. As cobots offer a more cost-conscious chance for manufacturing companies to familiarize themselves with robots on the factory floor, an uptick in demand for this type of robot is likely to occur in 2021 and beyond. In fact, according to research firm Interact Analysis, demand for cobots could increase by almost 20% in 2021. Effective implementation of cobots might be easier said than done though. It will require time and the right partner to reap the full benefits from this technology.

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5. Local-for-Local:

In 2021, as result of ongoing trade-wars and “Black Swan” events (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic), the industrial manufacturing sector is likely to see a shift to more localized production. Global supply chains have proven to be particularly vulnerable to such events, which in turn will encourage some manufacturers to move their activity closer to their customers. A shift to more local production processes means being less impacted by government rules, faster time to market, and more flexibility. This also presents challenges for companies with a global presence, as it may require an expansion of their supply chain into new territories, which is not an easy challenge.

6. Robotic Process Automation:

Another topic that has become quite prevalent in the manufacturing industry is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). By using RPA companies can free-up employees from repetitive, and time-consuming activities that can be more effectively carried out by a software-robot. RPA software mimics human performance for processes such as data entry, calculations, task completion monitoring, as well as logging into and out of applications. Manufacturing companies that adopt RPA strengthen consistency, safety and add speed to their manufacturing processes. They also reduce costs and risks associated with error-prone monotonous tasks.

7. Machine Learning:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly being used in the manufacturing sector. Some firms have already placed the technology within their machines or are on the cusp of doing so in order to collect data. The latter can assist them in predictive maintenance and provide them with intelligence on the overall usage of their machines for better optimization. However, analyzing and aggregating collected data is a challenging task. Most companies continue to struggle when it comes to being able to extract and analyze information from their machines. Companies that do not find ways to effectively manage and interpret their data are missing out on highly valuable business intelligence. 

8. Agile Project Management:

Manufacturing must adhere to tight and stressful deadlines for bringing products to market. If manufacturers do not meet their deadlines they can face the possibility of losing millions in revenue and profit. Because of the existence of such a rigid culture, many companies in the manufacturing sector fail to make the necessary adjustments while projects are ongoing. This is because a lot of projects require an early design commitment. By committing too early companies become less flexible and cannot make updates based on new data or market conditions. In order to build quality products in a speedy fashion a more agile approach is required. The existence of such rigid deadlines and processes impede, or even handcuff, the professionals who are working to create top-notch products.

9. Cyber Security:

As manufacturers become increasingly more digital in their processes highly-motivated cybercriminals are bound to begin targeting them with more frequency. Of course, technology can also help lower cyber risks. One way companies can lower cyber risks is with specialized partners who can help better manage threats by handling different stages of the manufacturing process independently. 

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10. Cloud Solutions:

Customers in manufacturing shift quickly, which in turn calls for smaller product cycles and quicker go-to-market schedules. As a result, manufacturing companies need to be fast, efficient and quality conscious. With cloud manufacturing, businesses can easily access new facilities and manage market fluctuations because the responsibility lies with the cloud provider. By partnering with the right cloud manufacturing provider, manufacturing entities will have the support necessary to face rapidly changing customer demands and better navigate business uncertainty, as a result of greater flexibility.

Manufacturing entities that successfully take on these issues will find themselves in a stronger position in 2021 and beyond. Of course, this is no easy task and to handle each of these 10 effectively is going to take time. However, one way you can address many of these as a large or small manufacturing business is by working with KREATIZE. 

Our mission is to provide manufacturing the world loves. To help your business provide consumers superior products, to support your engineers in their quest to design the best products, and help you bring products to market seamlessly. With our proprietary and patented software, we leverage the strength of cloud manufacturing to provide customers with access to top industrial facilities via our large network of selected suppliers.

Sign up now for your free KREATIZE account! Let’s make 2021 a game-changing year for your company and manufacturing!