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What are the advantages of using `make` for small projects?

Author: Geym

Feb. 04, 2024


A lot of other people are getting into the details of more complex makefiles and a lot of the complexity that comes with them. I typically use makefiles for a completely different reason:

I don't want to remember anything.

Even if your project is really boring and simple, and you don't use makefiles "correctly":

    gcc main.c -o project

I don't need to think about it or treat it any differently than a project that's more complex:

    gcc libA.c libB.c main.c -o project2

Or if I specified flags (e.g. -O2) I don't need to remember what they were.

Also, if you start with a simple makefile, and you need to merge/refactor things later, you don't need to remember to build every project differently.

The make-or-buy decision is a choice that product-oriented businesses face: Should the business make particular units (products or component parts) in-house, or should they buy them from a supplier? Both advantages and disadvantages of the make-or-buy decision exist.

You may recognize this situation as being similar to outsourcing decisions made regarding employees and services, and sometimes make-or-buy decisions are referred to as outsourcing. However, as the Corporate Finance Institute explains, the manufacturing version of the choice includes its own unique benefits that growing companies should understand as they start forming long-term strategies.

Cutting Current Costs

The majority of make-or-buy decisions tend to be cost decisions: Businesses want to learn which choice presents the most cost advantages with the fewest downsides. Sometimes suppliers can provide key parts or products at a significant discount compared to what it costs a business to produce those in-house, saving the company money with relatively few downsides.

Other times, shipping costs, issues with raw material availability, or other considerations mean that it is currently more cost-efficient for a company to manufacture units itself.

There are also situations where companies research their position and find that there are some cost savings to be found in buying instead of making, but they aren’t enough to overcome the costs of the transition. In this case, the business continues to make units in-house.

Solving Storage and Logistics Problems

As a company grows, it may find that the costs of storing parts and managing that inventory have grown too high, especially if parts have to be stored for the long term or moved between multiple plants. One solution to this issue is to work with third-party fulfillment centers and warehouses, but this isn’t an ideal solution for components that are needed for manufacturing. Make-or-buy decisions often lead manufacturers to arrange for ongoing shipments from a reliable supplier rather than deal with the logistics and costs of creating a particular part themselves.

Enabling or Improving Product Production

In other cases, the make-or-buy decision can help companies with product designs and manufacturing efforts that they would not otherwise be capable of.

For example, say that a scooter company is designing a new scooter for mass production. The scooter features a new, upgraded seat for better stability and safety. This new seat requires the use of additional raw materials that the manufacturer hasn’t worked with before and can only import at high costs. Fortunately, after researching the make-or-buy decision, the manufacturer finds a supplier in Australia that can produce the scooter seat using local raw materials and ship the component to the business at a cost that allows the manufacturer to maintain acceptable profit margins, allowing the scooter model to be made as designed.

Changing to Meet New Demand

Another issue that many growing businesses face is growing demand for their products. This demand may outstrip what the company can currently produce with its labor force, and there may be no easy way to grow fast enough to meet ongoing orders. In this case, the company may outsource the creation of certain products to other businesses to focus on the products that need to be made in-house.

Adapting to Changing Markets

It’s a good idea for manufacturers to consider the make-or-buy decision periodically, as markets and related costs can shift over time. As the Boston Consulting Group notes, corporations have found that while a “buy” decision may not save enough money during strong economic times, when financial situations grow more difficult, purchasing from suppliers may become a viable strategy. In other words, the best choice can differ depending on current circumstances.

What are the advantages of using `make` for small projects?

The Advantages of Make or Buy Decision





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