As additive manufacturing (AM) moves into industrial adoption, one of the biggest transformations taking place is in the software sector, where startups and legacy companies alike are seeking to better integrate 3D printing technology into mainstream production lines. While some firms are tackling this issue by merely linking various software packages, others are developing tools for connecting equipment to established enterprise tools. Phasio, a Singapore-based startup founded in 2021, is tackling the problem of communication.
Solving Manufacturing’s Comms Problem
Phasio provides a digital manufacturing platform that streamlines communication and collaboration between manufacturers and their customers. To do this, it offers features like automated order acceptance, personalized quoting, and integrated messaging for product design and production order management. Driving the startup’s efforts forward is a $2.5 million seed investment, led by Airtree Ventures, with participation from 500 Global, Entrepreneur First, Michael Sorkin’s Gattaca Ventures, and Tan Teik Guan.
As detailed in a recent story for TechCrunch, Phasio’s founders, Harry Conor Lucas and Sudharshan Raman, recognized the widening gap between the software and hardware industries. They understood that manufacturing is inherently relationship-oriented and that the extensive communication required for even small design changes and quoting processes was impeding progress.
Phasio’s solution to these challenges is an AI chatbot named ManufacturingGPT, integrated into its manufacturing interface. This chatbot acts as an intermediary, channeling WhatsApp, SMS, and email messages into a single platform. It engages with customers, collecting information about their requirements, and helps them initiate design requests with the manufacturer. Additionally, it offers instant quotes using Phasio’s automated pricing system.
The primary goal of Phasio is to simplify customer relationship management for manufacturers, allowing them to focus on their core business operations and potentially expand their reach globally. The platform currently serves over 50 local manufacturers across various markets, including Singapore, Australia, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, Greece, and the Netherlands. Phasio primarily collaborates with small- and medium-sized manufacturers specializing in segments like AM, vacuum casting, molding, and computer numerical control.
Phasio has integrated its platform with various essential tools used in the manufacturing process. These integrations include CAD software such as Fusion360 and CREO, accounting software like Zero and Quickbooks, and popular shipping providers such as Australia Post, UPS, and FedEx. This comprehensive approach enables manufacturers and customers to communicate effectively throughout the manufacturing process.
One notable feature of Phasio’s platform is the ability for manufacturers and customers to collaborate on design projects in real-time. Users can view 3D-rendered designs on a manufacturer’s website and leave comments on specific parts of the design. This level of interaction enhances the efficiency of design services and fabrication, enabling engineers to manage multiple projects simultaneously without sacrificing communication with customers.
Cutting Customer Response Times to Minutes
One Phasio user is the service bureau Soch3D, which deployed the platform to make the order management and RFQ process more efficient. Soch3D initially used a time-consuming approach that involved inspecting 3D files, using CAD software, Excel calculations, and multiple software packages, resulting in an average response time of 3 hours per RFQ.
Phasio collaborated with Soch3D to set up backend pricing logic, create a digital storefront for orders, and customize pricing for B2B clients. As a result, response times were reduced from hours to minutes, while customer engagement was improved, and Soch3D gained the ability to provide personalized pricing. Soch3D has been able to automate shipping label generation, order management, and customer updates, as well.
The Larger 3D Printing Software Market
According to the “Opportunities in Additive Manufacturing Software Markets 2023” report from Additive Manufacturing Research, the 3D printing software segment will grow from $1.2 billion in 2022 to $6.2 billion in 2031. Within that sector, Phasio seems to occupy a unique role. Rather than target, say, manufacturing execution systems (MES) to integrate AM into the larger software ecosystem of a business, it seems to be more focused on streamlining the user experience. This means that it can complement those platforms that do address MES, such as Oqton and Materialise. In turn, Phasio will be able to address a larger portion of the billion-dollar AM software pie.
Phasio’s seed funding will be used to support its go-to-market strategy, further expanding its reach in the manufacturing industry. Currently, the startup reaches out to manufacturers directly and has gained traction through word of mouth. Recognizing the need for high-quality content in the manufacturing sector, Phasio is also laying the groundwork to establish a community-level knowledge-sharing platform for manufacturers, aiming to provide valuable resources for manufacturers of all sizes to contribute to and learn from.
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