3d Printing With 3DHubs, Go Global Print Local

3d Printing Global Capacity Management

If you are not familiar with 3dHubs, let me explain. 3dHubs is an online trading platform that allows for sourcing 3d Printers to produced 3d objects globally. Yes,that’s it in a nutshell. With “3d Printing With 3DHubs”, you are able to book the production of your product/s with a 3d Printer just about anywhere in the world.  Check out some of the stats from 3dHubs below showing listing growth.  (That is nearly a 30-40 degree growth trend.)

3d Printing With 3DHubs Growth In 3d Printer Listings
3d Printing With 3DHubs Growth In 3d Printer Listings

Th current state of play is seeing 3DHubs with around 8,489. The goal is to have 10,000 3d Printers available online by the end of the year. It does look that they are on track.

Customer Driven 3d Printing With 3DHubs

From a customers point of view, you can upload your design, book timing of production and the characteristics of specifications of the job knowing all of the details of the 3d Printer’s capabilities. You can also see reviews of turnaround times and production quality. The model is particularly well suited to this fast evolving market.

Capacity And Demand For 3d Printing With 3DHubs

On the flip side, 3d Printer owners can load up the details of their production unit/s and start taking orders.

Just consider that for a minute as a production model…. Yes, it’s pretty interesting. That’s what I would like to touch on with this post. A little coverage of the model and it’s implications for how manufacturing is done now and into the future.

It is very interesting to see how 3d Printing is evolving. The incredible rate of investment and innovation along with an explosion in availability of the technology at a business and consumer level. The 3dHubs model is interesting because if we look at the way similar industries have evolved it has been very different. Comparing 2d Printing on paper and similar substrates to 3d Printing of objects in plastics, metals and other substances we can see a quite a contrast. “3d Printing with 3dHubs” may help the 3d Printing industry avoid many of the over capacity issues that have plagued the 2d Printing industry in recent times.

The 3d Printing industry may have many lessons for manufacturers and business in general. This innovation is likely happening because the people involved don’t have a lot of baggage of prior success and are in an environment of growth rather than dealing with a ‘cash cow’ or a mature / decline industry. There is also strong activity in the ‘Crowd Funding’ space. This means that funding is not held back by the characteristics of traditional investment models.

3d Printing With 3DHubs Growth Crowd Funding. Source: www.3dhubs.com/trends
3d Printing With 3DHubs Growth Crowd Funding. Source: www.3dhubs.com/trends

Innovation And Growth Driven 3d Printing With 3DHubs

Often what we seen in industries that are hugely successful such as the 2d Printing industry is that prior success can be one of the biggest inhibitors to future Success. Past success naturally drives an unwillingness to change. Managers generally don’t want to move into things that are not guaranteed to be immediately as good as, if not better than what they are doing now. It is counter intuitive to invest in projects that may fail or would see large up front investment with no guarantee of short term return.

The nature of Management will tend to focus effort on reducing cost and increase productivity.  Management will often try to do the best with ‘what is’. Merging effective Management with innovative thinking and Leadership is a really hard job to achieve within one companies walls. Generally what happens is that the larger cash rich Company may try to acquire the smaller innovators.  This is often seen as a short cut to trying to build internal innovation. Once acquired the existing strong and dominant ‘production’ based culture will kill of the culture of the innovator, there-bye negating any of the benefit of the acquisition.  In many cases the net result will be losses due to the acquisitions.

Sure there is a short term removal of one innovator out of the market, but in financial terms it is often a poor investment due to cultural clash and a desire for domination of one culture over another.

The trouble is that once the innovations are out of the bag you generally can’t put them back. So in short order the competitive threats will be popping up everywhere anyway no matter if some are acquired.

Global Data Mining And 3d Printing With 3DHubs

So let’s look at some of the advantages of the 3d Printing With 3dHubs, Go Global Print Local model.  One of the mind boggling things that this strategy is delivering is some incredible data sets.  It may help avoid some of the issues of over capacity that have been encountered in recent years in industries such as the 2d Printing world.  By being able to get good pictures of growth, equipment utilisation and focus more on sharing of resources with the market, there is a much greater chance of avoiding under utilised capacity not to mention capital investment based on gut instinct.  Check out some of these stats that the model is producing!

3d Printing With 3DHubs Shipments - Print Quality.
3d Printing With 3DHubs Shipments – Print Quality. Source: www.3dhubs.com/trends
3d Printing With 3DHubs 3d Printer Listing Global Hotspots
3d Printing With 3DHubs 3d Printer Listing Global Hotspots
3d Printing With 3DHubs Product Demand
3d Printing With 3DHubs Product Demand
3d Printing With 3DHubs 3D Printer Model Distribution September
3d Printing With 3DHubs 3D Printer Model Distribution September

Top Print Cities September


You can check out more details at 3DHubs on trends.  You can also subscribe to get regular updates.  I am sure there is much much more data available that is clearly extremely valuable at a strategic level.

3d Printing With 3DHubs Creates Many Benefits

  • Focus on the overall market place rather than on an internal biased one company offering
  • Helps to create educated buyers
  • Helps an industry avoid building unneeded excess capacity
  • 3d Printing With 3DHubs avoids the wrong work being shoe horned into the wrong equipment due to a focus on Selling what a Company wants rather than a customer buying what they need
  • Very quickly informs the market place what new capacity is desirable
  • Lends itself to data mining to identify reliable industry wide benchmarks
  • The performance benefits of newly introduced technology can be seen in productivity, quality and cost immediately by the marketplace
  • Lends itself to customer satisfaction through transparency of scheduling, turnaround times, product quality and features etc
  • Inherent in the model is the removal of work from under performing units
  • The model lends itself to self tuning, low cost management strategies
  • All transactions can be handled electronically
  • The hub or capacity management platform can dovetail into company planning systems
  • Investments can be made in new technology with facts and figures rather then gut instinct
  • Buyer responsibility is fostered when making decisions on the weigh offs of production location, quality and delivery times

The upsides to 3d Printing With 3DHubs model seem pretty strong and can be contrasted to the more traditional competing Company, sales driven focus. It is not to say that one or the other is right or wrong. The best way to look at this is to see the advantages of them co-existing and mutually benefiting.

Capacity Models Like 3d Printing With 3DHubs Mitigates Risk

The risk for Companies that try to make the decisions to invest in new capacity and technologies is that by doing so with an internal focus and little global industry capacity information means that horrendous misjudgments will likely be made.

Traditionally we have seen the companies with strong sales teams and dominant market positions over booked whilst other perfectly viable production houses sit playing cards. I have seen Companies with multi site operations having equipment idle at one site with other equipment at another of their own sites totally over booked. The 3dHubs, Go Global Print Local model tends to help manage this sort of risk for anyone involved, by putting more of the required information into the hands of the Customer.  It may seem a little counter intuitive for a Company based production team to consider this, but the potential for improved capacity management and engagement makes for a strong case.

I don’t think anyone would be putting forward the 3dHubs, Go Global Print Local model as one that solves all problems or negates strong branding, marketing and selling. But, perhaps it does help to avoid some of the massive over investment and consequent liquidations that have followed many blinkered or internal Company focused approaches.

Conclusions For The 3d Printing With 3DHubs, Go Global Print Local Model

Looking at the growth trends on uptake on this model it is seems to be  meeting market based problems with a clear and elegant solution.  The list of benefits that a strategy like this provides are compelling to all involved.  The benefits are extensive to the buyer and the seller.  Ideally the model is best run by an independent entity not involved in production of 3d Printing or 3d Printing equipment.  This avoids internal company biases eventuating.  All in all this looks like a fantastic innovation.  Perhaps the strongest aspect is that the model has the potential to avoid the catastrophic over capacity issues that have often plagued many industries and is a well known and difficult to avoid phenomena.  So to the team at 3DHubs, nice one guys!


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