By Faith Ashmore, Benzinga
Greg Kress, the CEO of Shapeways Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHPW), recently appeared on the Let’s Talk Supply Chain podcast. During the discussion, Kress highlighted the gaps in the digitization of the manufacturing industry and explained Shapeways’ role in addressing these challenges.
As a leader in the field of digital manufacturing, Shapeways continues to redefine the global manufacturing industry by providing on-demand manufacturing and simplifying complex production processes through proprietary software. The company is helping small and midsized manufacturers do this by providing access to Shapeways’ proprietary software and supporting them in digitizing their operations, growing revenue and expanding manufacturing capabilities.
“Small and midsized manufacturers are enabling incredible amounts of innovation in the US,” said Kress. “They are driving the manufacturing industry—and the amount of available work out there is enormous. Our goal is to enable them to be really successful.”
Kress compares his business model to what Toast (NYSE: TOST) did for the restaurant industry. Toast is a cloud-based restaurant management software that has essentially brought much of the restaurant industry into the 21st century. Shapeways is using that inspiration to provide small and midsized manufacturing companies with the resources they need to succeed and expand.
“Previously no one had access to industrial grade manufacturing equipment without investing millions of dollars and having a ton of know-how and time,” said Kress. “Now, Shapeways is allowing anyone to get access to on-demand manufacturing services at scale,”
Shapeways is democratizing the manufacturing industry and expanding accessibility so that small to midsized companies can excel in their craft. The company has invested millions of dollars in the digitalization of end-to-end operations and building scalable software that caters to the market.
On the podcast, Kress discussed how the pandemic has been a wake-up call for the company, regarding the need for better workflows in manufacturing overall, sharing:
“COVID has re-set the playing field. The amount of on-shoring we’re seeing is significant, and with the level of supply chain flexibility that’s required moving forward, there’s a different expectation. Those two challenges require businesses to take a step back and reexamine their approach in how to solve them.”
In many ways, Shapeways has become that solution. Realizing a need–and recognizing the opportunity–to reshape manufacturing, Shapeways responded with the launch of OTTO, a proprietary software platform that streamlines ordering, performs file analysis, and accelerates production. OTTO offers advantages beyond optimizing labor efficiency, asset utilization, and inventory costs. This powerful software platform also strengthens relationships between manufacturers and their customers, encouraging growth and paving the way for future opportunities.
Shapeways acquired MFG in 2022 to provide further support to manufacturers and buyers by adding new software features and services. MFG allows buyers—including engineers, product designers, and inventors—to submit requests for quotes (RFQs) to MFG’s network of independent manufacturers. This enables buyers to get multiple quotes quickly, at no cost.
Manufacturers also benefit from the opportunity to gain new leads and build customer relationships. Shapeways isn’t content to stop there though. With increased investment in MFG, the platform now offers new orders and transactions features that streamline process management and payments, aimed at increasing efficiency for both manufacturers and buyers.
Shapeways recently introduced MFG Materials too, a new feature providing paid members with access to a wide range of raw materials at 15 to 50% off list prices. Kress shared that the company has experienced success with customers under their multi-tiered model:
"Our customers typically upgrade very quickly. The payback period is very fast. If you close one order on the platform, you’ve paid for your investment in MFG for the next two years. There’s a very strong ROI associated with the process."
Shapeways seems well-positioned to revolutionize the manufacturing landscape, and Kress is confident in the company’s unique offerings within the industry. By extending their innovative, on-demand manufacturing services and software to a broad range of industries, Shapeways allows other companies to tap into their knowledge and insights to remain competitive in an ever-changing modern market.
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