Faas is an abbreviation for "Factory as a Service". Companies can also use this service to digitally manage their cost accounting, purchase and sales orders, as well as logistics.
"Thanks to AirFaas, small factories no longer fund their large customers; instead, they obtain their cash through the system. AirFaas is a complete ecosystem that combines accounting, logistics and production control systems, as well as funding and insurance systems, says Edward Blomstedt, CEO of Combi Works.
The service provides small operators with access to other providers' services globally, in a way that has previously been the exclusive right of the largest companies. Companies can use the portal to manage all of their purchases and sales activities, which provides them with access to large production capacity, funding and electronic tools.
"The first half of the year has been a success: business has grown as budgeted, and growth is accelerating. It is not uncommon for companies to digitalize their entire business and administration in one go. Airfaas can completely replace traditional ERP systems while also standardizing and digitalizing purchase and sales processes. The portal brings everything together to form an industrial ecosystem, thereby improving efficiency and profitability," Blomstedt continues.
"In practice, the user can buy or sell capacity more efficiently, digitalize its operations, and put its cash-financing on track without compromising its equity ratio.
As references, a few factories in the Baltic countries have transferred their entire manufacture and sales operations to AirFaas. This allowed the companies to make a full transition from Excel spreadsheets and Word documents into the digital world."
Decentralization of production around the world is raising questions about what steps have been taken to ensure ethical production and the safety and well-being of employees. And what about environmental risk minimization? According to Blomstedt, access to the Airfaas manufacturing service is not blindly provided to everyone.
"All factories have been audited, and at this point we have been working with nearly all users for years. In the future, alongside factory expansion, we will begin rigorous audits. Furthermore, having an open ecosystem such as Airfaas means that everyone can see where they are buying and at what price. This will increase transparency across the industry. We believe that this all-encompassing transparency will drive a more ethical approach, as it casts light into the darker corners of production," Blomstedt replies.
The biggest production launch challenges were caused by slow system development. Combi Works wants to lead the way in this development, to ensure that Finnish AirFaas becomes the "global hub of manufacturing". Blomstedt believes that this would open the door to exporting Finnish ethics. At the same time, it could help establish an industrial production, design and funding competence cluster in Finland, even if actual production becomes more roboticized and possibly moves closer to the final consumer market, in other words China or other major markets.
"We want to transform our industry in a way that hasn't been done since Henry Ford launched mass production. Implementing such a change will not be a small or easy step," Blomstedt concludes.
From Business Finland's perspective, AirFaas is an excellent example of a new business model in the circular economy that focuses on service rather than ownership, in this case buying manufacturing capacity as a service.
Text: Sirpa Mustonen