5 Top Cost-Effective Manufacturing Methods for SMEs

A man pointing out at Cost-Effective Manufacturing Methods for SMEs.

As a manufacturing business, one of the key elements of maintaining profitability is running operations in the most cost-effective manner possible. In a bid to cut costs, many businesses are now choosing to embrace low-volume manufacturing over full-scale production. Low volume manufacturing is a much more cost-effective method than mass production thanks to shorter building and cycle times which help to reduce overall production costs. If you are the owner of an SME that is looking to find out more about how you can reduce the costs of your manufacturing process, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect article.

Today, we look at the top 5 cost effective manufacturing methods for SMEs. Read on to find out more.

1.   Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a manufacturing technology that uses a laser to vaporise materials, resulting in a cut edge. This method of manufacturing can be used in the production of goods from a variety of different materials including metals, paper, wood, and acrylics. It can even shape high-strength, brittle materials such as refractory ceramics and diamond tools. Most importantly,  high-level precision that laser cutting in Melbourne and laser etching allow enables manufacturers to create products that are virtually free of flaws.

Some of the cost benefits of laser cutting include:

  • No need for die storage or maintenance;
  • No need for tools;
  • Short lead times and production runs;
  • A profile programme cost that is less than 0.5% of the die cost;
  • Low costs for minor design changes compared to that of hard dies; and
  • Special service when time is critical.

2.  3D Printing

3D printing is by far one of the most effective means of creating low volume prototypes as it requires zero upfront costs and provides lead-times as short as a few hours. This makes 3D printing a great choice for businesses that require quick iterations during the development phase of plastic, metal and composite products. Although final form manufacturing cannot be accomplished with 3D printing and in most cases will require CNC machining or injection moulding, 3D printing offers businesses a very cost and time effective means of perfecting single prototypes before mass production.

It is important to note that there are a few different methods of 3D printing technologies for plastics and metals that offer their own sets of pros and cons. FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D Printing and SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printing are currently the methods most commonly used in product development. To find out more about the pros and cons of these 3D printing methods, head to this page.

3.  CNC Machining

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a low volume manufacturing process in which pre-programmed code and software dictates the movement of production equipment. This cost effective manufacturing method can be used in almost every industry and is ideal for producing a variety of different goods made from wood, plastics, fabric, metal and more. First conceived in the 1950s, CNC machining is still widely used today due to fast turnaround, high tolerance and a wide range of materials that can be processed in a CNC machine. Also, keep in mind that maintaining CNC equipment is crucial for ensuring consistent quality and efficiency, and the use of a motor drive analyzer plays a key role in diagnosing and optimizing the performance of the motors that drive these machines.

CNC machining offers a myriad of benefits to SMEs and low-volume manufacturing companies including extensive material selection and high-precision machined parts. It also imparts repetition and accuracy to the process, thus offering a low cost solution to manufacturing custom prototypes with ease. To find out more about how your business can make more cost-effective choices on your next CNC machining project, click here.

4. Plastic Injection Moulding

Plastic injection moulding is a manufacturing method used to obtain moulded products by injecting molten plastic materials into a mould, and then cooling and solidifying them rapidly. This method is suitable for the mass production of products with complicated shapes such as surgical devices, electronic circuit boards, appliance housing, toys, bottle caps and automotive components.

An important thing to note is that injection moulding is rarely used in the prototype phase of a product due to the high upfront costs of moulds which makes it viable only at high volumes. Oftentimes, 3D printing is utilised in the initial stages of product development, and once prototypes are finalised, injection moulding can then be used for mass production. Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of plastic injection moulding here.

5.  Sublimation Printing

Over the last decade, many businesses have made the switch from traditional printing to digital printing as a means of reducing costs and increasing productivity. Also commonly referred to as “dye- sub” or “dye sublimation print”, sublimation printing is a flexible digital printing method that helps textile and clothing designers print more for lower cost. The process of sublimation printing is a chemical process carried out by transferring sublimation dyes to a medium which has a specially designed inkjet printer. Once this is done, dyes are then transferred to a heated object or material and pressurised through a commercial heat press.

Some of the benefits of sublimation printing include:

Small Runs With Low Costs: Unlike traditional screen printing that requires separate screens, films and a big setup for fabric printing, the process of sublimation printing is straightforward, cost effective and runs on small orders.

No Minimum Orders: Unlike traditional print that requires a minimum order, sustaining a sublimation printing setup is much more cost effective because it enables businesses to print on a small or large scale without the need for a MOQ.


And there you have it – the top 5 most cost effective manufacturing methods for small to medium enterprises. Whether you choose to utilise just one or a combination of a few of these manufacturing methods, you will be guaranteed fantastic, cost-friendly results that are sure to bring your manufacturing business and profit margins to the next level.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.