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Insourcing production: a strategic move for moonbird's growth and quality control

June 28th, 2023,

9 min read

Insourcing production: a strategic move for moonbird's growth and quality controlfeatured image

At Moonbird, we are committed to constant improvement and delivering the best possible experience to our customers. We recently made a bold decision to transition from outsourcing to insourcing the assembly of our handheld Moonbird devices. By bringing assembly in-house, we have greater oversight, tighter control, and can provide a superior product for our customers. We are excited about this change and its positive impact on our operations and customer experience. We’d like to share with you what factors influenced this decision and shed light on the advantages of insourcing production.

Meeting Demand: From Handmade to Collaborative Manufacturing

In the early days of Moonbird, founders Stefanie and Michael personally crafted the first batch of devices by hand, bird by bird. As demand grew, they enlisted the assistance of Gilles, the logistics and production manager at Moonbird, to handle both the assembly and repair of moonbirds. However, as sales accelerated over time, Gilles alone couldn't keep up with the mounting production demands. Consequently, we collaborated with Assemblics, a renowned PCB manufacturer in Harelbeke, to handleboth  the manufacturing of the PCBs as well as the full assembly processes.

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Challenges Faced: Navigating Supply Chain Disruptions

Like many hardware companies, we encountered substantial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global supply chain disruptions caused by factory closures and the semiconductor crisis led to delays in component deliveries. This situation resulted in increased costs for components, higher labor expenses, and squeezed profit margins for us, as was the case for many other hardware companies at that time. Making hardware is hard so it seems. It became evident that a more streamlined and cost-effective production strategy was required to sustain the company's growth.

The Move to Antwerp: A New Hub for Moonbird

During the relocation of our HQ to Antwerp, Stefanie and Michael discovered an ideal location in the historic heart of the city. This new space (which used to be a factory, subsequently turned into a ballet school) boasted 600 square meters, encompassing two floors. While one floor was dedicated to housing the team's offices, the other was initially utilized as a yoga and breathwork room. The amount of available space, combined with the need to optimize margins, sparked a bold idea in the minds of Michael and Gilles: relocating the production to the new headquarters. This decision aimed to streamline operations and maximize efficiency.

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Insourcing for Margins and Quality Control

With a continuous focus on maximizing margins and maintaining stringent quality control, finally the strategic decision was made to bring the entire production process in-house. Gilles, along with his team of skilled students, now spearheads the assembly of moonbirds at the Antwerp office. This move allows for a higher level of oversight and direct control over the production process, ensuring that each device meets our quality standards. With a potential capacity of up to 10,000 moonbirds per month, the team's productivity aligns with the sales volume, enabling scalable growth while maintaining quality craftsmanship.

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Benefits of Insourcing

  1. Cost Optimization:  Insourcing production minimizes the need to rely on external manufacturers, mitigating the risks associated with rising component costs and fluctuations in labor expenses.
  2. Quality Assurance: Maintaining production in-house allows for enhanced control over the manufacturing process, ensuring that each moonbird meets Moonbird's high-quality standards.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: With an agile in-house production team, Moonbird can swiftly respond to changes in demand and scale production accordingly.
  4. Knowledge Transfer and Skill Development: Involving skilled students in the production process provides valuable hands-on experience and fosters growth within the team.

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The decision to insource the production of our innovative handheld devices marks a strategic milestone in the company's growth journey. By bringing assembly operations in-house, we gain greater control over the quality, optimize margins, and enhance our ability to scale production efficiently. This shift aligns with our commitment to providing innovative and reliable products that empower individuals to embrace the transformative power of breathwork.

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Navigating Localization in a Globalized World

Moonbird's decision to insource its production aligns with a broader trend that companies across various industries are grappling with—the balance between localization and globalization. In an increasingly interconnected world, where globalization has facilitated access to global markets and resources, companies must carefully consider the benefits and challenges associated with both approaches.

While globalization allows for economies of scale, wider market reach, and access to diverse talent and resources, it also brings complexities such as supply chain disruptions, cultural differences, and regulatory challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, prompting companies to reevaluate their reliance on overseas suppliers and explore more localized alternatives.

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Localization, on the other hand, emphasizes regional or domestic production and distribution. By bringing production processes closer to their customer base, companies can enhance responsiveness, reduce lead times, ensure quality control, and foster stronger connections with local communities. Additionally, localization enables businesses to navigate regional regulations and cultural nuances more effectively, leading to improved customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

By assembling our moonbirds in-house with a team based in Antwerp, we not only gain greater control over our production process but also strengthen our ties with the local community.

This approach allows us to contribute to the local economy by creating job opportunities and fostering skill development within the region. However, it's important to note that finding the right balance between localization and globalization is a nuanced task. Even we navigate a bit toward a hybrid approach, where certain aspects of production are localized while others remain globalized (sourcing).

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