MATERIALS: Watercraft manufacturer NuCanoe was swimming in sales after earning rave reviews from several key sport fishing publications and from hundreds of customers. But customer demand had outpaced its manufacturing capacity. Many of its retail dealers were growing concerned about lead times that sometimes approached an entire month from order to delivery and occasionally left them feeling up the creek without a paddle—or a NuCanoe to sell. NuCanoe Director of Business Development Blake Young began looking for a rotational molder with the production capacity to meet demand and the track record for quality that would rival his own meticulous commitment to quality. Young turned to custom rotational molding and design firm Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. (MOD). MOD operates 23 rotomolding machines in four plants nationally and has earned several awards for manufacturing excellence from the Association of Rotational Molders International (ARMI) for both industrial and consumer products.
In addition to molding the 10 and 12 ft NuCanoes, MOD also assembles each NuCanoe, installs hardware and ships directly to the dealer ready for retail sale.
With increased capacity, faster production rates and by shipping directly to dealers from MOD’s Ohio facility, NuCanoe is able to deliver in quantities as low as one unit at a time in only one or two days. Previously, the company had to bundle several orders on a truck and later separate them for delivery to each dealer, a process that sometimes required up to a month to reach eastern dealers, who account for 66 percent of sales. The streamlined logistics has cut lead times by up to 93 percent and shipping costs by up to 50 percent.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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