High-Mix, Low-Volume is not the same as small batches

January 10, 2023

In the manufacturing industry, the term High-Mix, Low-Volume (HMLV) is often loosely used to describe smaller batches of different products, but as this blog will demonstrate, it is a lot more complex than that. We will look at some of the advantages that HMLV has over Low-Mix, High-Volume (LMHV) and why a company might choose a manufacturer that specializes in HMLV.

What is High-Mix, Low-Volume?

A manufacturer that produces a lot of different products or components in relatively small quantities in a highly efficient and effective production cycle is an HMLV specialist. HMLV is generally a made-to-order production method that enables a quick change in the production lines—sometimes several times in a shift.

This is in direct contrast to LMHV. In this method, the production line manufactures the same product for long durations with few or no changes. Most manufacturing companies prefer LMHV because it’s easier to manage and run. Once the production line is up and running, it’s generally just a matter of keeping the operation running smoothly.

 HMLV, on the other hand, takes a high degree of organization, efficiency, coordination, and teamwork to ensure that not only the manufacturing output meets customer requirements and it’s profitable. For this reason, it’s a lot harder to do HMLV correctly, and therefore most manufacturers operate in the LMHV arena.

 What is the advantage of High-Mix, Low-Volume?

 Not too long ago, industries didn’t have to be innovative, but with the modern demands of customers, the advancement of technology, and a more connected global economy, manufacturers must quickly react to the changing needs of their industry. This means, for a lot of modern companies, HMLV is a great solution.

 For LMHV manufacturers, if their customers’ needs change or there are supply chain issues, they often have trouble changing directions and cannot meet demands. These costly delays can decrease profits and sometimes can put manufacturers out of business.

 So why choose High-Mix, Low-Volume?

 HMLV is more than just creating small batches; it requires the manufacturer to focus and have the ability to rapidly change production lines efficiently while putting the needs of customers first. Being agile is a strong competitive advantage. HMLV is highly effective because it recognizes the reality of the shifting modern marketplace.

There is a cultural component of HMLV that cannot be overlooked. It focuses on the efficiency of the entire operation, not just a single production line. Operators must examine the overall manufacturing process and find ways to continuously improve all areas, including using the latest technology, better management, and workflow improvement methods.  

Final thoughts

HMLV is a great solution for organizations looking for greater flexibility. It offers an alternative to the processes most manufacturers follow while providing more choices to customers who need special or custom solutions.

Wesgar can help with sheet metal, machining, copper bus bar fabrication HMLV

If you’re looking for a company specializing in HMLV, then Wesgar provides the solution to complex manufacturing needs. In fact, Wesgar, located in British Columbia, is the largest producer of HMLV custom precision sheet metal products in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Contact us today, and let us help you solve your HMLV manufacturing challenges.