Can the Uber model upend the manufacturing industry?

‘Taking advantage of idle gears’ is the concept being expanded by manufacturing entrepreneur Drura Parrish of Lexington, Kentucky.

The model is known as distributed or on-demand manufacturing and meets the manufacturing needs of small businesses in the same way that Uber meets the needs of passengers requiring a lift.

The genesis of the idea came when Parrish realised the extent to which expensive manufacturing machinery stood idle for large parts of the time. (We are pleased to report that this is not a problem we have at Ronson – as our machinery is kept extremely busy!)

If he could harness the downtime of those machines for small businesses that needed use of them, then it would be an all-round benefit. He therefore created a platform to enable small business owners to rent out blocks of idle-time machinery such as CNC Milling Machines, water jets or laser cutters. It could be a gamechanger by mitigating the costs of ownership and allowing smaller businesses access to the machine tools they need.

See this article by Ellen Sheng in Quartz Media to see how it has worked in practice.

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