Just as software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been used to streamline the software needs of businesses and organizations around the world, Xometry has created the manufacturing-as-a-service (MaaS) platform to serve the pressing needs of the Metal Working Nation. Jim and Jason discuss the inner-workings of Xometry’s impressive success with the vice president of the company, Michael Dickson, in this week’s exciting episode of MakingChips.
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As the largest manufacturing-on-demand platform in the country, Xometry makes parts for over 16,000 customers - including clients such as NASA and BMW. Michael explains that their ability to meet such high demands is because of their instant quoting engine, partner network, and through their online e-commerce site - Xometry Supplies. Michael shares that the passion and drive behind the company is to help manufacturers grow in their own businesses as well as helping the manufacturing industry thrive as a whole.
If you have a part that your shop doesn’t have the capacity to create, what can you do? Michael explains how Xometry’s instant quoting engine works to provide manufacturers and customers with instantaneous answers on how their needs can be met. Uploading a 3D CAD file of the part or project you need manufactured into the system allows the quoting engine to determine when the part or project can be made and delivered and by whom. The system allows users to select the type of tools they want to be used, custom finishings, and what types of inspections they want the project or part verified through. The instant quoting engine then calculates lead time and the deadline for a need. Payment is simple and savable for future orders. When there are extremely specific details needed to complete a project, the system prompts the user to insert PDFs detailing other needs. Xometry sends the orders to the proper manufacturer for completion. Carr Machine & Tool, for instance, could use Xometry in a partnership as a way to extend the business by fulfilling orders offered through Xometry.
Just as Uber doesn’t actually own any cars, but they are still the largest taxiing company in the world, the goal of Xometry is to be the on-demand portal for manufacturing. Their success is derived through their leverage of the workforce capacity provided through their numerous partnerships. Xometry is the coordinating portal of the Metal Working Nation - not the workforce itself. Michael explains that one of the benefits of such a company is that the customer doesn’t have to send out quote requests or conduct research on which manufacturing business is the best for their specific need. Xometry simply takes the order and delivers it to the best partner for that specific job. Because Xometry has built such a solid reputation, people trust the process.
Xometry has about 3,000 partners - including those who make parts and fulfill orders for Xometry and those who order from Xometry. The process to become a partner is an easy one. Anyone can join - once approved - and there is no partnership fee. There is an on-boarding period and a trial period. Once Xometry is satisfied, they will open the business to work within the network. While certifications aren’t required, they are heartily welcomed.
Feedback is one of the main driving factors for improvement of Xometry’s systems. Jason compares the improvement process to that of the housing market. If your house doesn’t sell within a few weeks, perhaps it is priced too high. If it sells in a day, perhaps you could have raised the asking price. It is the same with manufacturing parts. Supply and demand, feedback from customers and partners help Xometry’s instant quoting system to work at optimum capacity.
Michael explains that Xometry is an excellent source of growth for new manufacturing businesses or start-ups. Partnership can help cover the costs of starting a business and help provide a more steady stream of work. The goal of Xometry, after all, is to leverage the manufacturing capabilities in the US and to help their partners make more chips - so that they can make more money and reach their goals. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for more about how manufacturing as a service can benefit you and your company!