Utilize DigiFabster’s software-as-a-service (SAAS) platform to improve the speed, flexibility and accuracy of 3D printing quote requestsAPPROACH
Create an account, populate and configure the software’s administrative area with the correct pricing and specifications, and deploy DidigFabster’s widget on Northern Layer’s webpage. Then market the site’s newfound capability, encouraging prospective customers to request quotes onlineTECHNOLOGY
DigiFabster’s web-based software platform, iFrame-based web widget
While the 3D printing industry is over 3o years old, many companies are just recently beginning to explore the benefits it can provide. Early in the product development process, it can help them design and iterate more quickly. With prototyping it can help them avoid costly mistakes. In production it can help them manufacture in smaller batches, reducing risk and encouraging innovation.
But while businesses understand the advantages theoretically, digitizing their workflows can be more difficult to implement in practice. They need help understanding when and where additive manufacturing makes sense, and need help determining the right technology for each application. 3D printing service bureaus are often forced to lead in this regard.
Unfortunately, service bureaus only have so much time and labor to invest. Reducing the amount of time they spend on quoting can free them up to focus on new customer development.
Like most DigiFabster customers, Northern Layers was easily able to configure the software’s quoting engine to support their various production methods. Having that flexibility ensured that pricing was accurate, regardless of how jobs are quoted and eventually produced.
Once the software was configured and the widget was installed on Northern Layers website, customers could upload their own files and receive quotes instantaneously. The software’s automatic file fixing technology eliminated much of the time their staff spent in file preparation. It also freed up the capacity they needed to handle more new clients.
DigiFabster’s customer relationship management (CRM) features also helped Northern Layers focus and improve their sales process. By handling the more mundane tasks involved with follow up, the could concentrate on higher value activities involved with educating potential customers.
When it comes to web-based software, companies in many emerging industries must make the decision to build or buy. In some cases there’s not much choice, but as markets mature software-as-a-service often becomes a better option. For Northern Layers, the opportunity to utilize DigiFabster allows them to focus on their core competency.
The 3D printing industry is developing rapidly and service bureaus like Northern Layers are often on the leading edge. They spend a significant amount of time learning about new technology and making smart decisions regarding equipment purchases. Then as they bring new capabilities online, they have to communicate those capabilities to potential customers. Evangelism plays a big role in their potential success.
“I think 3D printing is only at about 10% of its potential with current technologies,” says Mr. Shea. New capabilities are being developed far more quickly than they can be applied. We need to find innovative ways to inspire people in all industries to utilize the technology. For a service bureau like Northern Layers, it can be a big competitive advantage. But it's also a daunting task because it requires people to change their current processes and that’s always difficult, especially when you’re coming from the outside and suggesting a whole new line of thinking.”
With support from DigiFabster, Northern Layers is leveraging automation to focus on higher level activities that help it uncover killer applications and grow its business in an ever-changing market.www.northernlayers.com