When small business manufacturing companies must work with limited resources, shipping and distribution costs can expensive. However, one company has devised a way to reduce manufacturing costs by having open source furniture designs.
In the effort to keep manufacturing local, OpenDesk in the United Kingdom allows designers and makers to download designs of furniture from its online community, according to Gizmag. Makers can assemble furniture parts that are cut from wood using a CNC machine. The founders of OpenDesk wanted to fabricators globally to try out designs, saying they wanted to create a network for furniture makers.
"We chose to go open source initially because we wanted to get positive feedback from people on what they thought of designs and ensure they could fabricate for their own personal use if they had access to a CNC mill," said Nick Ierodiaconou, OpenDesk director and lead designer, to Gizmag.
Businesses have the choice of working with raw materials themselves or buying parts that are ready for assembly to be made into desks, tables, stools and more.
While designs are free to download, OpenDesk also functions as a freemium model, where consumers can have furniture made after agreeing to a fee, which helps increase business for local manufacturers. Buyers can choose the option of "Get It Made" for furniture pieces and tell the site where to deliver the finished product.
SBA awards $55 million in small business loans in 2013
To purchase raw materials such as wood, small business manufacturers often turn to loans. To help pay for expenses that are crucial for production, the Small Business Administration offers various loan programs to qualified businesses. The SBA will have given out at least 129 loans worth $54,983,700 before the end of the fiscal year with each loan averaging out to $426,000, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Businesses that benefited from these loans include manufacturers in Ohio such as Advanced Manufacturing, which bought a gearbox after receiving a $2 million SBA loan in 2011.
Local SBA District Director Gil Goldberg said the region may receive the same amount of loans this year compared to 2012. The numbers for 2013 are slightly below last year's fiscal period of 150 loans totaling $65,854,200 with an average of nearly $439,000 per loan. This is more than double the total given out during the start of the recession in 2009, the local SBA office for northern Ohio gave out 89 manufacturing loans that totaled $26,490,400.
"I think that tells us that manufacturing is still growing," Goldberg said.