Assemble to Order (ATO)

Definition: Assemble-to-order is a type of pre-ordering that allows you to have your products made up to be shipped as soon as possible.

The basic idea is to have the manufacturer build the product based on your specifications but consider your preferences and those of your customers. This approach leads to a fast turnaround and allows you to get products into customers’ hands sooner rather than later, saving both time and money on production costs which can then be passed on to you as an entrepreneur.

The key to assembling to order (ATO) products efficiently is to compare the costs of assembling each product with the cost of producing the product in any other manufacturing process. When costs are low, assembly is simple; when they are high, assembly becomes more difficult because many factors must be considered.

Assemble to Order creates a customised product experience for customers that starts with ideation, through prototyping and evaluation, followed by manufacturing, quality assurance and distribution. Uncompromising quality standards and streamlined logistics allow Assemble to Order to turn a prototype into final production products with reduced time, effort and costs for their customers. Assemble to Order is a dynamic full-service e-commerce fulfilment and fulfilment solutions provider set up to help e-commerce entrepreneurs fulfil orders quickly, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.

Advantages of ATO

  • When you assemble to order (ATO), it reduces the amount of money you spend on materials and supplies and increases your profit on each unit.
  • You can get simple products quickly, instead of having to make more expensive custom versions.
  • The upfront costs of orders are covered by the supplier, meaning no money changes hands between you and the company. This keeps the cost of goods down for you and means you’ll have more profit even as the production runs longer.

Disadvantages of ATO

  • potential lost sales due to low supply, 
  • longer lead times to produce goods, and 
  • having to deal with multiple parties instead of one

Assemble to Order (ATO) offers fast prototyping to customers. In most cases, this means working on a product starts within 48 hours of receiving the initial order. Then the product delivery iteration and delay are done as necessary (time is spent on marketing and product development to help customers with their specific needs). With Assembly to Order (ATO) strategies, prototyping and R&D happen together.