What Does Make To Order Mean?

Have you ever wondered how certain products are made specifically for individual orders? This article will delve into the world of Make To Order (MTO) manufacturing and explore its differences from Make To Stock (MTS) production.

We will discuss the process of MTO, its benefits, and the challenges companies face when implementing this strategy. We will look at the industries that commonly use MTO and provide examples of companies that have successfully embraced this approach. So, if you’re curious about the ins and outs of MTO, keep reading to find out more!

What Does Make To Order Mean?

Make to Order (MTO) is a production approach where items are manufactured to meet a specific customer demand, rather than being produced in anticipation of customer orders.

This method allows businesses to customize products according to individual customer requirements, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Companies in the apparel industry often use MTO to create unique clothing items based on customers’ size and style preferences.

From a financial perspective, MTO can result in lower inventory holding costs as companies only produce items once orders are confirmed. Implementing MTO requires efficient coordination between the production, procurement, and sales departments to ensure timely delivery and minimize excessive inventory.

What Is the Difference Between Make To Order and Make To Stock?

The primary difference between Make to Order and Make to Stock lies in the production approach, with Make to Order catering to specific customer demand, while Make to Stock involves producing items based on anticipated demand and stocking them for potential sales.

Make to Order allows for a customized and personalized production process, tailored to individual customer requirements, which can lead to longer lead times but allows for greater flexibility in responding to unique customer needs.

On the other hand, Make to Stock enables companies to hold inventory ready for immediate delivery, reducing lead times and fulfilling orders quicker. It also carries the risk of excess inventory and potential write-offs if demand does not materialize as anticipated.

How Does Make To Order Work?

The Make to Order process commences when a customer places an order for a specific item, triggering the initiation of the production process to fulfill the customer’s requirements.

Upon receiving an order, the production lead time is determined by the availability of raw materials and the complexity of the requested customization. This requires strict inventory management to ensure all necessary components are readily available for prompt manufacturing. The production team then follows the customer’s instructions to meticulously craft the product to their exact specifications. As the production nears completion, rigorous quality checks are performed to ensure the product meets the highest standards. Once approved, the item is carefully packaged and shipped to the customer.

Customer Places an Order

The Make to Order process commences with a customer placing an order for a product, initiating the subsequent production and fulfillment workflows to meet the specific customer demand.

This customer order is the pivotal trigger that sets in motion various interconnected aspects of the production process. It directly influences production planning, as the order details dictate the necessary materials, resources, and labor needed to fulfill the order.

Customer orders play a crucial role in demand forecasting, providing insights into the market trends and allowing businesses to anticipate and prepare for future demand. They also impact the overall production schedule, guiding the allocation of resources and ensuring timely delivery to customers.

Production Process Begins

Upon receiving a customer order, the production process is initiated. This includes allocating production resources, scheduling, and utilizing production capacity efficiently to meet the specified requirements.

In this step, the available production capacity is evaluated and necessary materials and workforce are allocated accordingly.

Scheduling plays a crucial role in coordinating the various stages of production to optimize efficiency and minimize idle time. Operational efficiency is prioritized, with a focus on streamlining processes and minimizing waste.

By integrating advanced production planning and control systems, the make-to-order approach enables a synchronized flow of materials, resources, and labor. This ultimately contributes to delivering customized products with high quality and timely delivery.

Order is Completed and Shipped

Upon the completion of the production process, the order is readied for shipment, encompassing the coordination of production activities, quality control, and optimization of the production workflow to ensure timely fulfillment.

This stage involves close monitoring of inventory levels and production schedules to align with customer demand.

Production control managers play a crucial role in overseeing the process, ensuring that all components are ready for assembly and shipment.

Effective coordination with logistics teams is essential to streamline the transportation of finished goods to their destination.

By integrating real-time data and automated systems, the efficiency of the Make to Order process is maximized, allowing for seamless order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.

What Are the Benefits of Make To Order?

Make to Order offers several advantages, including reduced inventory costs, the ability to customize products according to customer preferences, and improved demand forecasting capabilities.

This approach to production allows companies to minimize the risk of overstocking items, as products are only manufactured when there is a confirmed customer order. This not only helps in lowering storage expenses but also eliminates the need for excessive safety stock.

Make to Order enhances production flexibility, enabling businesses to swiftly adapt to changing market demands and emerging trends. It also ensures that customers receive tailored products that align perfectly with their specific requirements, thereby enhancing overall satisfaction and loyalty.

Reduced Inventory Costs

By aligning production with specific customer orders, Make to Order minimizes inventory holding costs, enhances supply chain optimization, and contributes to overall cost-efficiency and financial performance.

This approach allows companies to avoid overproduction and reduces the need for extensive warehousing to store excess inventory. As a result, production costs are streamlined, and the capital tied up in excess stock is minimized, leading to improved cash flow.

By producing only what is needed, businesses can better manage their resources, reduce waste, and improve their environmental sustainability, aligning with modern business practices.

Customization for Customers

Make to Order enables tailored customization of products to meet specific customer requirements, fostering enhanced production coordination, optimization, and timely delivery aligned with customer preferences.

This level of customization allows manufacturers to adjust their production schedules and resources to meet the unique demands of each customer. It reduces the risk of overproduction or excess inventory, streamlines the supply chain, and minimizes waste, enhancing operational efficiency.

By aligning with customer-specific preferences, Make to Order not only meets individual needs but also builds customer loyalty and satisfaction, ultimately contributing to long-term business success.

Better Demand Forecasting

Make to Order facilitates improved demand forecasting through the direct linkage of customer orders to production timing, enabling more effective supply chain coordination and accurate sales forecasting.

This approach allows businesses to align production with actual customer demand, reducing inventory carrying costs and minimizing the risk of overproduction.

By integrating customer orders directly into production schedules, companies can optimize resource allocation and minimize waste. Make to Order enables greater customization, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

By accurately predicting demand and production needs, companies can streamline their supply chain operations, enhance efficiency, and achieve better cost control.

What Are the Challenges of Make To Order?

Despite its benefits, Make to Order poses several challenges, including longer lead times for production, higher production costs, and difficulties in coping with sudden increases in customer demand.

This type of production strategy often requires a high level of operational efficiency to accommodate varying customer needs while ensuring that resources are utilized effectively.

Managing the production schedule can be complex, as it involves creating a balance between demand forecasting and resource allocation, which directly impacts overall operational costs.

Maintaining a streamlined communication process with suppliers and internal departments is critical to mitigate any potential delays and disruptions that could arise during the production process.

Longer Lead Times

Make to Order is often characterized by longer lead times due to the need to align production with specific customer orders, necessitating meticulous inventory management and precise demand forecasting to address this challenge.

This longer lead time in the Make to Order process can significantly impact inventory management as it requires a careful balance of stock levels to fulfill specific orders without overstocking.

It also influences customer orders by extending the waiting period, potentially affecting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

To mitigate the effects of longer lead times, accurate demand forecasting becomes essential to ensure timely production and delivery, aligning supply with the fluctuating demands of the market.

Higher Production Costs

Make to Order may result in higher production costs due to the tailored nature of production, necessitating effective cost management strategies and supply chain optimization to mitigate the financial implications.

This approach often involves unique material sourcing, specialized labor, and potential idle time between orders, all contributing to increased manufacturing expenses.

To address these challenges, businesses can implement initiatives like lean manufacturing, just-in-time inventory, and efficient resource allocation.

Integrating advanced technology and automation in production processes can enhance productivity and reduce lead times, ultimately impacting the overall cost structure positively.

Supply chain optimization plays a pivotal role in identifying areas for improvement, streamlining processes, and minimizing wastage, ultimately boosting cost-efficiency in Make to Order operations.

Difficulty in Meeting Sudden Increases in Demand

Make to Order faces difficulties in meeting sudden surges in customer demand, requiring robust production scheduling, accurate demand forecasting, and efficient supply chain coordination to address unforeseen fluctuations.

Managing production timelines, resource allocation, and inventory in response to demand spikes is a challenging task. The key to maintaining customer satisfaction and competitive advantage lies in accurately predicting and responding to these fluctuations. This requires effective coordination across the supply chain, including suppliers and logistics partners, to ensure timely procurement and delivery. In such a dynamic environment, integrating advanced technologies and data analytics can greatly enhance the agility and responsiveness of Make to Order processes. This supports better decision-making and adaptation to changing demands.

What Industries Use Make To Order?

Make to Order is prevalent in several industries, including fashion and apparel, automotive, electronics, and furniture. This strategy is especially significant in the fashion industry, where customized garments are produced based on specific customer preferences and trends. In the automotive sector, Make to Order allows for tailored vehicle configurations, ensuring that individual customer requirements are met. In electronics, this approach enables the production of customized devices and components, aligning with diverse consumer needs. Likewise, the furniture sector leverages Make to Order to craft unique pieces tailored to customer specifications, encompassing design, materials, and finishes.

Fashion and Apparel

The fashion and apparel industry extensively employs the Make to Order model, enabling the fulfillment of customer-specific preferences, production flexibility, and accurate demand forecasting to meet dynamic market trends.

This approach allows brands to tailor their production to individual customer needs, minimizing excess inventory and reducing the risk of unsold stock.

By integrating demand forecasting data into the production process, companies can align their manufacturing with real-time consumer demands, leading to improved efficiency and reduced waste.

Make to Order provides an avenue for sustainable practices by reducing overproduction, contributing to a more environmentally conscious approach within the industry.


The automotive sector leverages Make to Order to ensure efficient production processes, streamlined supply chain coordination, and optimized production workflows for meeting diverse customer requirements.

This approach allows automotive manufacturers to customize products according to specific customer demands, minimizing excess inventory and reducing the risk of overproduction.

By producing vehicles based on real-time customer orders, the industry can optimize resource allocation, minimize lead times, and respond swiftly to market fluctuations.

Make to Order helps in synchronizing the entire production cycle with customer demand, fostering a lean and responsive manufacturing ecosystem within the automotive sector.


In the electronics industry, Make to Order facilitates precise production scheduling, accurate sales forecasting, and effective production control to meet the ever-changing demands of the market.

Make to Order is a production strategy that aligns with customer orders, resulting in reduced excess inventory, shorter lead times, and quicker response to market trends. This approach creates a responsive production environment that optimizes resources for customized orders, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

It also enables businesses to quickly adapt to changes in demand, ensuring efficient use of resources and cost-effectiveness in production processes.


The furniture industry embraces Make to Order for managing production lead times, addressing diverse customer orders, and optimizing supply chain management to deliver customized solutions to clients.

This approach allows furniture manufacturers to minimize excess inventory and reduce the costs associated with storing unsold products. By producing items based on specific customer demand, companies can achieve a more efficient and sustainable use of resources.

Make to Order enables businesses to establish closer connections with customers, as they can offer personalized products tailored to individual preferences and needs. This customization not only enhances customer satisfaction but also contributes to a more responsive and flexible supply chain.

What Are Some Examples of Make To Order Companies?

Several companies have successfully embraced the Make to Order approach, exhibiting efficient production coordination, optimization, and cost-effective strategies to align with customer demands and financial planning.

This production model has been effectively implemented by companies such as XYZ Corporation. They have integrated advanced production planning software to streamline their operations, enabling real-time coordination between customer orders, inventory management, and production scheduling.

Similarly, ABC Manufacturing has invested in lean manufacturing techniques. This has effectively reduced waste and increased overall production efficiency, contributing to their cost-effective Make to Order strategy. These companies’ initiatives showcase how a well-integrated approach to production and financial planning can lead to sustained success in the Make to Order environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does make to order mean in finance?

Make to order is a production strategy where a company produces goods only after receiving a customer’s order, rather than producing goods in advance and storing them in inventory.

Why do companies use make to order in finance?

Companies use make to order in finance to minimize inventory costs and avoid the risk of unsold goods. By producing goods only after receiving an order, companies can also customize products to meet specific customer needs.

What is an example of make to order in finance?

An example of make to order in finance is a clothing company that produces custom-made dresses only after receiving a customer’s order. This allows the company to reduce inventory costs and offer unique products to its customers.

What are the benefits of make to order in finance?

The benefits of make to order in finance include reduced inventory costs, customization options for customers, and a lower risk of unsold goods. It also allows companies to be more responsive to changing market demands.

What are the drawbacks of make to order in finance?

The drawbacks of make to order in finance include longer lead times for customers, as goods are only produced after an order is received. This can also make it more difficult for companies to accurately forecast demand and plan production schedules.

How does make to order differ from make to stock in finance?

Make to order differs from make to stock in finance in that make to stock involves producing goods in advance and storing them in inventory, based on forecasted demand. Make to order, on the other hand, only produces goods after receiving a customer’s order.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *