Three years ago, 3DPrintus, an online 3D printing platform in Russia, expanded its business and developed 3D printing software and services provider DigiFabster, which helps companies automate and streamline certain business processes.
DigiFabster is currently working with iGo3D, a German reseller of 3D printing equipment, accessories, software, and consumables. iGo3D is using DigiFabster’s software to automate its sample request process and better serve its clients.
John Hauer, the CEO of consultancy Get3DSmart, tells 3DPrint.com, “Essentially what DigiFabster is doing in this case, is allowing a reseller of 3D printing equipment to be more efficient in how they produce sample models, which in turn helps them compress sales cycles and sell 3D printing equipment more quickly and efficiently.
“That’s entirely different than the usual scenario where they help service bureaus manage quotes and orders.”
A little background – iGo3D was Germany’s first 3D printing equipment provider to open a retail store. After starting out selling 3D printers directly to customers through the store and online, the company realized it could help other German companies sell 3D printing products, so it expanded and started to build up a reseller network.
iGo3D kept growing, and opened a new business unit last year called Additive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), which is also a common brand with Grupo Sicnova 3D. AMS helps larger organizations and companies achieve their goals in specific markets with additive manufacturing.
As part of its service offering, iGo3D also helps its many resellers sell their products – clients will frequently ask the company during the sales cycle to 3D print test files for them, in order to, as a recent press release put it, “confirm the validity of a specific solution.”
This is a lot of work while trying to juggle multiple clients and resellers, which is why iGo3D called on DigiFabster. Its software tools help iGo3D accept sample requests online, putting them in a job management queue so the company can make sure every job is completed and returned on time. This saves iGo3D and its customers time and labor – the company can focus on the more important tasks, like producing and shipping samples, and let DigiFabster’s software take care of receiving, inspecting, fixing, and writing up orders.
“It seems every day more new companies are entering the 3D printing space, and basically there are four places to make a play – equipment, materials, software and services. As new equipment providers enter the scene, they have to make a choice. They can try to sell direct or work through resellers. Most have decided to work with resellers in one form or another. While some resellers have expertise in 3D printing, many are joining the fray because they already have customers and expertise in specific markets and want to expand their offerings,” Hauer told 3DPrint.com
“The challenge resellers face however, is that often they don’t have the additive manufacturing industry and product expertise they need to validate the solutions they’re selling. One big example has to do with making samples. Whether you’re selling copiers or 3D printers, buyers want to see output. Not just demo files that are fine tuned for specific machines, but real live applications that customers are planning to produce with the equipment they’re considering.
“This creates a big problem for resellers in that many from outside the industry don’t have a team of industrial designers who can review CAD files and make the necessary fixes needed for optimal output. Further, they don’t have workflow processes in place to manage the onslaught of file requests. As a result, they sometimes end up delivering an inferior product and don’t provide the turn time needed to keep sales cycles on track.”
Last fall, DigiFabster hired Get3DSmart to manage business development for potential customers in the US. According to Hauer, who is highly familiar with the 3D printing industry, other large resellers that don’t have the industrial design skills to receive and process sample files have had similar issues in needing to prove to potential customers that their solutions work, or risk losing a sale.
“DigiFabster’s core customers are service bureaus who intend to profit from every job they sell. They need the ability to quote online and manage orders automatically. Like everywhere else, eCommerce has the ability to save them time and money while simultaneously helping them generate new revenue. But for equipment resellers the stakes might even be higher. If they don’t manage the sampling process effectively, all the money they spend in marketing and sales is likely wasted. To close the deal, you simply must be able to prove your solution,” Hauer tells us.
“Therefore, what DigiFabster is doing with IGo3D is a completely different use case. IGo3D is using the software to automatically fix the files they receive, reducing the labor and expertise needed to make them ‘print-ready.’ They’re also using the software’s order management capabilities to track requests and improve turn time. The end result is better quality samples, delivered more quickly. Instead of dreading the thought of producing them, iGo3D can leverage sampling as a unique competitive advantage.
“Further they’re ‘eating their own dog food.’ Many customers are looking to monetize their investment in 3D printing equipment. Resellers who use workflow software as part of their own sales process are in a unique position to understand its benefits and share them with their clients. That’s the definition of value add. They’re not just trying to move boxes, they’re able to offer a comprehensive solution that involves products, services, and expertise.”
iGo3D isn’t the only company looking to save on time and money while improving the customer experience – other 3D printing equipment providers and service bureaus are learning that software like DigiFabster’s can give them a leg up over the competition.
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