AMS Spring 2023

How Your 3D Printing Service Can Be Part of the MaaS Revolution

Inkbit

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If you’re reading this, you’re most likely familiar with the concept of Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS), but in case you’re not, it’s essentially the idea of different businesses sharing work to complete client projects. The client may or may not know that another business was involved in the workflow process, and they may not even care as long as the job was completed and done well.

MaaS is possible because of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Internet of Things (IoT), which paved the way for an interconnected world where manufacturers can quickly outsource any overflow work to another business in any part of the world. If you’ve ever had machines sitting idle on your shop floor, being part of a MaaS network and tapping into that overflow work makes good business sense.

But being a part of a MaaS network is not that straightforward. In the Additive Manufacturing world, big companies that control large online service bureau networks have different approaches to MaaS for you and your 3D printing business. Some are aggregators and will connect you with suppliers while others will connect you with end-users, but almost all demand heavy control in the process. How can you compete against these large online service bureau networks?

At MakerOS, we’re democratizing product development by offering any 3D printing or digital fabrication business the ability to add a client portal to their website and provide an online project intake system at no cost. We combine the best aspects of ERP, PLM, CRM, and (POS), and project management point of sale, that apply to fabricators and machine shops. All of this is done with our business operating system, the MakerOS platform. The ability to grow an online presence gives any digital fabrication business the ability to thrive.

By democratizing access to software that typically only very large corporations have access to, we are democratizing capability, lowering the barrier to entry, and enabling more 3D printing companies to run a successful business. We’re helping prototypers and fabricators solve the problems of heavy expenses, low margins, and poor communication. By doing that, we’re enabling more fabricators, engineers, designers, essentially service companies, to serve more people and to build online more MaaS companies.

If someone wanted to make a competitor to one of the existing large online service bureau networks, they can do that with MakerOS. You do that by getting the projects in and then you shop those projects out if the other provider also has MakerOS.

If you want to be a competing service, you can be an online service bureau, and you can collaborate directly with your vendors directly within your portal, with your clients. The Client Portal fundamentally changes the nature of how Manufacturing as a Service operates because no other platform allows for the interaction and collaboration that MakerOS does. You can do any type of project, whether it’s additive, CNC, laser-cutting, whatever, all of that can be handled in one platform, and it can progress from one stage to the next.

The focus is on developing the product, as opposed to just only being transactional with a client. You can be transactional with MakerOS, but you can be more consultative and build relationships, and I think that is a big deal. Most people don’t pay attention to that fact. Businesses are built on relationships and MakerOS is the only engineering manufacturing platform that allows you to do that.

Automated quoting systems are great, but it doesn’t solve the issue of building relationships with clients. The automated quoters are just one part of the system. You need to be able to have transparency in the collaboration and development of that product, with your team internally and with the client directly.

Learn more and start for free at makeros.com. There’s no credit card required to get started.

About the Author, Mike Moceri

Mike Moceri has deep experience in manufacturing, design, and software. In 2013, he co-founded the world’s first 3D printing retail service bureau in Chicago. In 2014 he founded Manulith, a 3D printing, and product design agency, where his clientele included Fortune 500 companies within the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Mike is also a mentor at Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator, a mentor at WeWork Labs in NYC, and formerly a mentor at TechTown Detroit. He’s previously been featured on MSN, Make Magazine, NBC, and the Encyclopedia Britannica. D-Business Magazine called him the “Face of 3D printing.” Mike is currently the founder and CEO of MakerOS, an all-in-one business operating software for manufacturers, engineers, designers, and fabricators to facilitate modern product development.

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