top of page

Can composite manufacturing SMEs grow through Network Driven Scaling?

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Network Driven Scaling

In this instance, Network Driven Scaling refers to a connected network of suppliers providing goods and services at scale. The goal of NDS is to achieve collective cost advantages due to an increase in the overall output.

How SMEs leverage Network Driven Scaling: 3D Hubs

Nowadays, most rapid production methods boast of having on-demand production, thanks to the vast network of connected manufacturers providing their services. 3D Hubs is a great example of this, where you can upload a drawing and get an instant quote. However, such a business model relies heavily on the SME network and collaboration with readily accessible CNC manufacturing facilities nearby. Collectively, as a whole, they are able to provide low-cost on-demand production.

SMEs leverage Network Driven Scaling: 3Dhubs

An attempt to leverage Network Driven Scaling for SMEs in composites

Airborne has initiated similar efforts in the composites industry through its Digital Client Portal. The assumption that needs to be made, when increasing accessibility, is that all the SME manufacturing facilities will collectively be able to provide manufacturing services through the digital portal at a lower cost. This hinges heavily on assuming a high scale of production throughout the supply chain. In theory, this would also be able to help reduce the cost to the end-user; thereby increasing the adoption of composites in many other application areas. However, in order to achieve high predictability and scale, the model assumes that SMEs in the network would have access to highly automated production facilities. Sadly, more than 70% of composite manufacturing SMEs lack automation capabilities in their own facility and rely heavily on the craftsmanship of their employees' labor.

Airborne Digital Client Portal

The Missing Piece