The business model for a low-cost product maker seems fairly established: have some in-house designers, an intermediary group in Asia to work with a prototyping partner, and a contract manufacturer in Asia to handle mass production once the design is finalized.
But in the last couple of years more companies and countries have sought to bring more manufacturing back to their home nations. There are a number of reasons for doing this, from speed of innovation, information control (i.e. leaks), and the fact that more and more companies are finding ways to develop a cost-competitive infrastructure.
But it remains mostly higher priced ‘premium’ items that have made the transition, so it was remarkable to me to see that IK Multimedia is opening a manufacturing center in the same city as their headquarters. Here are the details:
IK Multimedia – the leader in mobile music-creation apps and accessories for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch – is proud to announce the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Modena, Italy, where the company headquarters is located.
The new facility is dedicated to the production and testing of IK Multimedia’s range of mobile accessories, and it includes highly automated lines for electronic components assembly, inspection and quality testing. Since the release of its first hardware product in 2006, IK has manufactured a percentage of its hardware in Italy. With the addition of the new factory, IK expects that by the end of 2012, over 50 percent of the one-million-plus units of hardware it produces annually will be “Made in Italy”.
The Modena factory makes it possible for IK to further improve its outstanding quality record and the time-to-market for new products in its rapidly growing line of accessories and beyond.
IK’s emphasis on in-house production helps it stand out from the numerous companies in this sector that rely completely on third-party manufacturing.
The new facility will operate according to the strictest European regulations for safety and environmental impact, which is in accordance with the company’s mission to be both socially responsible and eco-friendly.
In today’s global economy, it’s rare to hear of jobs being brought back to a manufacturer’s country of origin, but IK was able to do so by leveraging the skills and traditions of its native territory.
Modena, a highly entrepreneurial city in the North of Italy, and its surrounding area, is known for being the sports car capital of the world, and is home to factories for Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ducati and more. The area is synonymous with high-quality, high-tech craftsmanship that is unmatched in the world. Beyond just automobiles, the region’s industries have long specialized in advanced electronics, precision mechanics and plastic molding. IK was able to tap into this rich business ecosystem when setting up manufacturing facilities for its high-tech line of accessories.
I hope that this works well for them and makes them a model of home-based manufacturing for the industry.