Flexibility in Manufacturing

Manufacturing in America continues to grow, and more manufacturing jobs were brought to the U.S. last year than were sent abroad. But there are definitely pressures on manufacturing. And the solution to that pressure could be flexibility.


Brands, retailers, and consumers all demand customization. Special labeling for store brands is nothing new, but now companies are facing different labeling requirements in different states. Marketing built around packaging is demanding, too, with short runs and frequent changes required.

Snickers bars can be bought with 21 different emotional states preprinted on the package: Cranky, Grouchy, Confused, Irritable, Impatient, Complainer, Whiny, Curmudgeon, Ornery, Testy, Snippy, Rebellious, Feisty, Sleepy, Loopy, Goofball, Forgetful, Drama Mama, Dramatic, Princess, Spacey. Playing off of the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” ad campaigns the company runs, these specially marked bars are designed to be handed to friends and family as a fun call-out. We don’t know how people are taking to insults in the form of a candy bar, but it certainly creates challenges for manufacturers.

Shorter supply chains

One of the big drivers of reshoring is the desire to shorten supply chains. Consumer moods change fast, brands and their marketing plans never relax, and the cost of transporting goods across the globe is no longer balanced by the cost of human labor in less expensive locations.

Manufacturers want to be able to make a lot of different products at one facility, instead of devoting each factory to a single product. They want to be closer to their end customer. That means producing multiple items in each production facility.

Flexibility helps. For manufacturers, being able to make changes quickly to meet customer needs is essential. Rexroth’s modular design has always helped keep manufacturing flexible. Rexroth’s VarioFlow plus chain conveyor system, for example, is literally super flexible, and can move items “horizontally, vertically, on incline or decline, overhead, sub-floor, around obstacles and over long distances.” It also has multiple ready-to-use modifications for quicker customization.

When you need support with Rexroth electric motion control systems, from legacy part reman to configuration and design of new systems, we can help. We’re Rexroth electric motion control specialists. Contact us now.

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