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Posted December 22, 2020

What is Manufacturing as a Service?

Manufacturing as a service

At one time, equipment manufacturers staffed their in-house machine shops to fabricate the parts needed to develop and produce their products. This process became outdated with the need for faster times to market and more advanced CNC machining tools. As OEMs shifted focus to ever more efficient supply chain logistics, manufacturers felt pressure to deliver precision parts quickly and at the highest quality levels.

Manufacturing as a service (MaaS) provides a new approach to parts fabrication. It combines speed and efficiency with supply chain management principles to meet the marketplace’s changing demands. 

What Does Manufacturing as a Service Mean?

The basic concept of manufacturing as a service or MaaS is to provide precision manufacturing as a shared resource, so equipment, experience, and infrastructure are used as efficiently as possible. MaaS manufacturers rely on a diverse pool of customers to keep their entire manufacturing operation running continuously and efficiently. Their customers, typically OEMs and product manufacturers, receive faster lead times than outsourcing overseas, and far lower costs than standing up their own manufacturing capabilities.

Manufacturing precision parts for advanced industries such as robotics, aerospace, or defense, requires the latest CNC machining technology and has tremendous overhead. From square footage to mills to salaries for operators, OEMs often find it more efficient to partner with manufacturers that are able to combine orders from multiple clients to run 24/7, thereby lowering overall costs.. When a manufacturer opts for using a single manufacturer specializing in the production of precision parts, expenses distribute amongst all of the customers using those services.

What are Some of the Advantages of the MaaS Model for Equipment Manufacturers?

Four areas where OEMs and sourcing professionals will find advantages when using a machine shop founded on a MaaS model:


A more traditional machine shop’s business model is based on taking and filling the customer’s orders. The MaaS model encourages a partnership between the client and the manufacturer. Involvement early in the engineering phase allows the manufacturer to make design recommendations that can accelerate the product’s development, lower manufacturing costs, or both.

Outsourcing production:

Using an outsourced manufacturer saves the customer from having to maintain and staff their internal machine shop. Additionally, with a MaaS partner, the client can rely on the services of the manufacturer for project management, freeing them up to focus on engineering and product development. The customer also can depend on the procurement system of the manufacturer instead of allocating their resources.

Diverse experience and skills:

MaaS-based machine shops work with various customers across different industries, building parts used in many applications. This results in them having a wealth of skills and experiences to perfect their manufacturing and quality processes for the next client. Additionally, the diversity and consistency of the work in a MaaS-based machine shop attracts machinists and programmers who are the best in their fields. The success of the machine shop translates to your success in getting a better and more efficiently manufactured part built to your specifications.

Just In Time (JIT) inventory management:

MaaS partners offer Just-in-Time inventory management solutions. With JIT delivery, customers don’t have to worry about warehouse surplus or safety stock. If additional parts are needed in the future, the same MaaS vendor can quickly deliver parts, as needed, on demand.

There are many advantages to choosing a machine shop that has adopted the MAAS model for their business. It’s even more advantageous when working with a local manufacturer for the production of your parts.

One of the key benefits of the MAAS business model is that it partners together design engineers with their manufacturing engineer counterparts.

What You Can Expect from Your Local Machine Shop

With all the skills and experiences gained from working with various customers, your CNC machine shop has many manufacturing engineering resources at your disposal. One of the key benefits of the MAAS business model is that it partners together design engineers with their manufacturing engineer counterparts. This combination of skill sets lowers manufacturing costs and shortens overall production timelines.

At Plethora, our customer representatives have engineering backgrounds to better assist in finding your next project’s manufacturing solutions. Our online auto DFM and the quoting system will give you immediate feedback on your part specifications, so we can get your project started and completed as quickly as possible. As a manufacturer that has pioneered the MAAS business model and understands its benefits, we look forward to partnering with you. To get started on your next project, upload your design files to Quote My Part or call us at 415-726-2256.

Quote My Part


The Plethora Team

The Plethora team is your go-to CNC manufacturer for hardware done right the first time. We have the tools and experience needed to create high quality custom parts quickly and with precision, whether you need a prototype or production run.

Topics: Manufacturing