The price of raw materials across the world are shooting up every week. Wood, metal, and plastic prices have all more than doubled over the last 12 months. This means that today’s manufacturers have to resort to drastic measures.
During the shutdowns caused by COVID-19, production across every industry went down, reducing the amount of everyday materials available to the market. Low supplies and ever increasing costs has put almost every company on edge about the future of their market.
Any company that’s building anything is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can either:
The traditional materials that manufacturers have relied upon for decades are not as reliable as they once were. Today, the only thing that’s reliable about traditional raw materials is their increasing prices.
The price increases in traditional raw materials are opening a huge door for material innovation. For the first time ever, manufacturers are being pushed to find new raw material suppliers that can bring down costs, and deliver a competitive advantage. This is where sustainable materials come into play.
Today, sustainable raw materials can help manufacturers build stronger, lighter, and cheaper products.
In 2018, solar power hit an inflection point where the price per kilowatt hour went below traditional energy production methods like coal and natural gas. Similarly to energy, sustainable materials have hit the inflection point and are now less expensive than unsustainable alternatives.
Manufacturers can now become sustainable without compromising strength, weight, and, most importantly, price. It now costs less to be sustainable.
Sustainable materials hitting price parity with traditional materials could be the most important opportunity for manufacturers since the assembly line. This opens the door for a foundational shift in developed products that could be manufactured at scale. Now, it’s time for sustainable materials to usher in the next generation of manufacturing.
Most manufacturers are hesitant to shift their raw material supply chains over to new inputs. There are concerns about product consistency and supply levels. Fortunately, our team has spent the time to build a reliable equipment stack that can output hundreds of millions of pounds of sustainable materials every year.
So, you may be wondering, how can our team help manufacturers make the transition to sustainable materials as seamless as possible?
Heartland’s team has really honed in the crawl, walk, run methodology. We are starting with a lab-scale facility in Southwest Michigan that will process just over 1,500,000 pounds per year for product development with our clients. After our next round of financing, our capacity will move to an annual throughput of over 300 million pounds.
This lab-scale facility in Southwest Michigan will give manufacturers the capability to do R&D for products that will go into mass production next year.
This is how we take the crawl, walk, run methodology into our relationship with our manufacturing partners.
We start with a straightforward product development process that allows the manufacturer to test sample materials in use cases that are easily implementable. We work alongside our manufacturers to find non-structural and non-loadbearing products that can easily use hemp as an additive. From there, we either work alongside a manufacturer’s raw material supplier, or introduce them to one of the dozens we’re already working with.
Our product development process focuses on creating the desired performance benefits that manufacturers want to see in future versions of their products. When it comes down to it though, manufacturers are typically not willing to sacrifice increased pricing for performance benefits or vice versa. This is why it’s important for sustainable materials to have commodity grade pricing while maintaining performance characteristics for mass adoption.
Today, manufacturers are seeing an increase in all the raw materials they’re using. This is creating an increased cost of goods sold and a reduction of supply. Ultimately, this environment is creating margin compression that is forcing the hand of manufacturers toward innovative solutions.
Manufacturers that are working alongside Heartland are using sustainable materials for R&D this year so that they can integrate them into mass manufacturing next year. These manufacturers are the leaders in material and product innovation. They know that the future of manufacturing will use sustainable materials to create performance benefits while reducing costs and carbon footprints.
The future of manufacturing is coming quicker than most people expect. The rising prices of raw materials is creating an optimal environment for manufacturing leaders to transition toward a more sustainable future.
It’s only a matter of time before sustainable materials are the standard inputs that manufacturers rely on. Fortunately, the leaders across manufacturing industries are raising their hands and working alongside Heartland to build a sustainable future.
Join us as we build a world out of hemp.
— Heartland Team