MF Case Study #023:

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When a growing keyless security brand noticed COVID-19-related stresses on their sourcing, MacroFab stepped in to offer a North American-based option.

MacroFab’s unique and streamlined approach to electronics manufacturing had significant advantages for the keyless security brand.

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The keyless security brand provides devices for commercial real estate buildings, parking garages, multi-family residential complexes, and other spaces that would otherwise require entry via physical keys, cards, and badges. Late in 2021, the company was acquired by a Fortune 500 company, turbocharging the startup’s ability to grow and reach new customers.

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Prior to partnering with MacroFab, the brand worked exclusively with a cost-effective Taiwanese contract manufacturer. The facility could handle production-level volumes, but challenges arose once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Frequent engineering design changes were needed to continue production and avoid delivery delays. However, changes required major oversight from the facility.

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The 14-hour time zone difference between client and manufacturer made real-time collaboration to find solutions difficult. Overseas flights to put team members and factory personnel together onsite were considered, but this delayed production times and increased manufacturing costs. It became clear the arrangement would not be sustainable going forward given the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

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Fortunately, MacroFab was already on the table as a possible solution. The two organizations moved forward with a partnership to manufacture several SKUs in North America with the potential to expand in the future.

The two companies created a roadmap outlining how the startup could get its production up to speed at the right price point. MacroFab had everything the company needed to achieve its goals and optimize its electronics production during a tough season.

Going forward, the company doesn’t have to worry about committing a certain amount of production volume to MacroFab, a common challenge that comes with working with many large overseas manufacturers.

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MacroFab’s unique and streamlined approach to electronics manufacturing had significant advantages for the keyless security brand. First, the company’s engineering team could collaborate with MacroFab engineers in real-time on potential design changes, eliminating the need for expensive international trips. MacroFab operates in a similar time zone, enabling the company’s operations and supply chain leaders to get support whenever needed during normal business hours.

The convenience of working through design changes with other electronics manufacturing experts also gave engineers at the company peace of mind that its products would get assembled correctly. MacroFab keeps a close tab on marketplace trends and inventory, allowing users to adjust on the fly if designs become outdated or impossible to produce for any reason.

MacroFab’s robust network gave the company ultimate flexibility in committing volume at every stage of the electronics manufacturing lifecycle. No matter where the brand is along the prototyping-to-assembly spectrum, it can find factories with the right specialization and open capacity.

A few designs needed updating before the keyless security brand could continue full-scale production. MacroFab suggested the company perfect its designs first in U.S. facilities that were built for rapid prototyping. Once all stakeholders were confident in the new designs, MacroFab moved production to a more cost-effective facility in Mexico offering a similar price structure to the Taiwanese facility, except without the engineering-design change anxiety and inflexibility.

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Today, MacroFab’s manufacturing network produces thousands of units of one SKU with the keyless security brand, with plans for ramping up a second. These products are manufactured in North America, eliminating the time zone difference, language barriers, and long overseas trips to validate engineering-design changes. While the company still uses the Taiwanese factory for some SKUs, it has decreased its production risk significantly by moving volume to MacroFab’s network.

The company’s path back to production-level volume after making design changes is much quicker today. This is crucial now more than ever since the business exists as part of a larger Fortune 500 company. With its shortened iteration cycle the keyless security brand can bring new products to market faster. Throughout the iteration process, the startup has access to MacroFab experts who understand the ins and outs of modern electronics manufacturing.

Going forward, the company doesn’t have to worry about committing a certain amount of production volume to MacroFab, a common challenge that comes with working with many large overseas manufacturers. This gives the growing company a chance to move seamlessly from prototyping to production, always working with the best factories available.

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