Lessons From Local Motors: Modern Manufacturing In Action

Local Motors might be known for their for innovative 3D printed electric car, the Strati, but there’s another aspect of the business that needs to be recognized. Founder and CEO, Jay Rogers offers a brief look at what this incredible company is up to and how they handle the complex modern business environment. Olli is the company’s autonomous, electric powered bus that helped showcase their capabilities but now they want to show other manufacturers how they can achieve a high level of consistent innovation when it comes to product development.

The company takes an interesting approach to manufacturing. Using co-creation and micro manufacturing, they’re able to drive the commercialization of high-tech products. Crowdsourcing, when it comes to manufacturing, is something that was once rare to see. However, more manufacturers and businesses of all kinds are turning to these crowdsourcing platforms for ideas and partners. Local Motors uses a bespoke community that is built with suppliers and customers. This community based ecosystem brings together the community to discuss the products where they can offer their input. Furthermore, it’s a fantastic place for an innovative company such as Local Motors to find willing investors.

This shift in business is something companies were hesitant to embrace just a few years ago. Local Motors is open about the projects they have in development and explains to the customer exactly what’s on the table in regard to their products. They’ve found great success in opening their development to the public, cultivating a team of interested individuals that take part in bringing the ideas to fruition.

Local Motors has also worked with some large manufacturers such as General Electric, Lego and Airbus Group. Using their processes to help spur innovation in companies that have fallen short when it comes to customer engagement and the development of new ideas. Rogers is convinced that this is the future for modern manufacturing companies. They practice the same process and he uses Olli as their best proof of concept.

Now, Local Motors has taken steps to greatly expand their operations. Working on other vehicle programs for the military and their own automobile business, they continue to move forward in this uncertain business climate utilizing their innovative business model. Creating micro-factories located around the US and crowdsourcing their projects has paid off.

Modern manufacturers are constantly searching for the next way to keep their business competitive and ahead of the curve. Local Motors is a fantastic example of what outside-the-box thinking truly looks like and what it can do for a manufacturing enterprise. Not all manufacturing operations are able to disclose their IP like Local Motors, but this doesn’t mean the public can’t help in one way or another. Connecting with the community and encouraging feedback on products can go a long way. From creating loyal customers to coming across an innovative idea submitted by a product user, communication with the public is a luxury many small and large manufacturers often overlook.

Sources:

https://3dprint.com/165438/sdm-employee-jay-lenos-garage/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhigh/2017/02/21/local-motors-ceo-on-3-d-printing-self-driving-buses-and-other-projects/2/#4b23aa7a53a0