What You Need to Know About Kitting in Manufacturing
Kitting in manufacturing is a practical, tried-and-true method of streamlining production and fulfillment for businesses—an all-in-one way for your warehouse staff to assemble product parts into one final product. Kitting can improve worker efficiency, as well as add to the customer experience and improve buyer retention.
With all of these factors being huge savings and profit drivers for businesses (obtaining new customers can be 5x more costly than retaining your existing customers), taking the time to enhance these areas of business are well worth the time and effort.
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about kitting in manufacturing and how it can make a difference for your e-commerce business and your bottom line.
What Does Kitting Mean in Manufacturing?
During the manufacturing process, raw materials, components, and individual items are brought together to create an end product that’s ready to be delivered to distributors, warehouses, or directly to customers. Understanding this can help us define kitting in manufacturing.
The kitting process in manufacturing brings together all the individual products or pieces needed for the assembly line or production line to create that end product. Instead of assembly workers needing to track down each individual piece for the product, everything they need has been bundled together into a single unit to simplify and speed up product assembly.
It’s similar to when you order a new piece of furniture that requires assembly. The packaging has all the necessary tools and hardware, so you don’t have to find all those things on your own.
What Is the Process of Kitting in Manufacturing?
Kitting in manufacturing involves having a separate space, and in some cases, a team, dedicated to bringing together individual items and then bundling them into a single package or unit with a single SKU (stock keeping unit).
The kitting process can happen right when materials arrive at the manufacturer or the kitting can be done later on in the production process. For instance, kitting might be happening after some subassembly has taken place, or before the products are prepared to leave the manufacturing space.
One surprising example of kitting in manufacturing is dental implants. Since a single company processes thousands of orders every day, and no two orders are the same, the company needs a detail-oriented kitting service to take care of the minutiae of assembly before delivery.
The Different Types of Kitting
There are two key types of kitting manufacturing processes businesses use: material kitting and product kitting. One of these, product kitting, is more commonly known in the e-commerce sphere. Material kitting, on the other hand, is more common in manufacturing – though both can have their place in either situation.1.Material Kitting
This type of kitting requires collecting everything that’s needed to put together a single product. It brings all the individual pieces and materials into one place to put together the product.
This method of kitting is best used for custom products (like dental implants and medical tools). Sometimes this also involves some pre-assembling to make things more efficient on the assembly line.
Material kits move on to the assembly line or production line.2.Product Kitting
Product kitting involves the collection of products frequently bought together and putting them into a single kit. For example, when you buy shampoo, you likely also buy conditioner, product kitting would involve bundling these two items together.
This kitting method can act as a sales driver and marketing tool to increase the sale of more products. This is because they offer a discount and a sense of only buying a single product.
Product kits move on to (or can even be created at) warehouses or distribution centers where they can be picked and packed for order fulfillment.
When Should Kitting Be Used?
Kitting is particularly valuable for products that have a lot of customization options. It’s well suited to products like dental implants where the product needs to be tailor-made for each customer.
Some of the more popular options for kitting in manufacturing include:
- Automotive: This most often targets the smaller, but critical components in automotive manufacturing, including bolts and screws.
- Electronics: Again focused on the smaller elements of electronics manufacturing, kitting in this sector targets putting together capacitors and resistors.
- Food and drink: Food and beverage manufacturers rely on kitting teams to help with sealing, labeling, tray packing and putting together meal kits.
While kitting in manufacturing is typical for medical devices, automotive, and tech industries, it can also be applied to e-commerce goods like white label and on-demand products and subscription boxes.
What are the Benefits of Kitting Manufacturing Materials?
Now that we have an understanding of the question, “what is kitting in manufacturing?” we can take a look at why businesses, distributors, and manufacturers want to use this method in their operations. In other words, let’s look at the benefits of kitting:
- More Efficient Inventory Management & Storage
Kits reduce the amount of shelf space needed to store products in warehouses. Instead of each product being shelved with its own packaging, multiple products can be packaged together in a single package, which adds up to space savings.
- Increased Warehouse Efficiency
Having multiple units brought together into a single SKU makes it easier and more efficient to track the assembled unit through your warehouse management system.
When warehouse management systems are used effectively, they can increase picking speed by 30%. Accurate tracking also allows workers to pick and pack with more ease and less error.
- Faster Production Times
At the manufacturing stage, kitting helps you save time in assembling products and orders. It saves workers from having to take the time to track down each item needed for a product.
Having everything bundled together also reduces the time it takes to pack and prepare an order for shipping. This means your products can get to your customers faster, which delivers a better customer experience. (And, a good customer experience is something that 86% of consumers are looking for when shopping online.)
- Reduced Shipping Costs and Times
With faster assembly, picking, and packing, orders can be sent out more quickly and in a single unit. This reduces both shipping costs and shipping times. This plays a HUGE role in creating a satisfying customer experience and in customer retention,
- Increased Profit
Bundled products encourage customers to buy more than they may have set out to, which increases your sales. Beyond this though, kitting can help with reduced costs of overall operations, which helps you grow your bottom line at every possible opportunity.
How Can You Implement Kitting for Your Business?
When you work with a trusted 3PL partner, expanding your kitting process is easier than ever. With kitting, you can streamline order fulfillment.
Reduce order processing time and make happy customers—we have the tools and resources to help you create this with ease. (Integrating kitting in your business is just a 30-minute process!)