Product customization is an ultimate opportunity to cater to your clients without altering your production chain significantly. Small changes mean the world to clients when those changes are personal. Engraving products or altering the color of a component make the product feel special to the client – and they are when made to order through manufacturing customization.
The question is how to offer product customization for your plastic products without disrupting your manufacturing and logistics solutions. Fortunately, plastic is both the easiest to customize and to alter the mold plans quickly with each order. Will you work with multiple suppliers? Build a customizable manufacturing sequence, or handle the customization by hand?
Start with modest custom features. The best way to apply personalized details is in-line with your production. Choose one detail, maybe two, to customize about the object – or printed from a standard template in the chosen size. Manufacture with equipment that can apply a programmatic variable feature. Laser etching and label printing can both adapt to the programmed content with each product – the device itself doesn’t have to print the same image every time. This introduces the possibility of product customization and, therefore, an opportunity for your customers to make special requests without interrupting the manufacturing process.
Build Engraving Into the Pipeline
Engraving a product requires a single step in your manufacturing process. You can now perform engraving through several mediums in a method much like printing. Words or images can be entered into the machine and the pattern will appear engraved on the product(s). Include an engraving device in your pipeline, and you can offer custom engraving of your products – without an unnecessary two-step interruption.
With this, your clients can have their products engraved. Initials, inscriptions, or simple images are an elegant addition to many products.
Product Differences by Product Diversity
Another approach is through a variance of suppliers and vendors. If you sell a product that comes in a few designs, colors, or styles, you can offer a fuller selection by sourcing from more than one manufacturer. For more extreme variance between products, you may even require different supplies to offer a selection. Rods of different lengths, for example, or sourcing different colored components from separate suppliers.
Alternate Color Injection Molding
Injection molding can often include more than one nozzle, material, and/or color to make an entire item. The item begins building from the core and molded layer after layer by injecting plastic in a predetermined model. You can use this method to create batches of items in a selection of colors or made-to-order manufacturing, calling on separate injection molding nozzles to print alternate color and material products on demand – depending on the design of your injection molding equipment.
Print Special Edition Labels
Label printing is another opportunity to customize without complicating the process. Labels are printed through a programmable system, not typesetting, so you can customize labels easily in batches or for a singular product. Traditionally, product label customization has been limited to marketing campaigns and product variation. However, you can offer special edition labels, labels for events and weddings, joke labels, or labels bearing initials and other formal personalization.
Laser Engraving and Custom Image Printing
Along similar lines, laser printing and plastic image printing can customize your products on the fly. Customers can choose their favorite image or even upload an image to print on their item. You can supply design elements for customers to build their own images, like trophy and plaque engraving design, where a little guidance produces a more satisfying end-product. These variations are easy to accommodate with modern laser engraving and plastic printing as part of your manufacturing chain.
Staying Profitable with Product Customization
Finally, remember to monitor the profitability of the customization. The smaller changes in your manufacturing process, the better, as this minimizes the cost of changing components, changing molds, or adding a manufacturing step.
There is certainly profit to be found from offering personalization on popular items. Just be sure that your revenue from personalization and detail selection outweighs the cost of diversified manufacturing.