Increasingly, however, 3D is being used as a key differentiator for many companies as they strive to disrupt the market, serve their customer’s needs and beat the competition.
What’s important about 3D? It’s about using the power and intelligence in the 3D model for the design process, it’s about using 3D to visually present what the customer can order, and it’s increasingly about using 3D printing to provide custom or one off designs. Welcome to the new way of driving sales.
Mass customization, and more importantly mass personalization, are becoming more sought after in today’s market. We are seeing traditional businesses adapt and new businesses emerge.
“Manufacturers that provide mass customized products that do not streamline their processes and tools will suffer from increased costs, long lead-times and lost sales.” – Jim Brown, President, Tech Clarity.
The ability to personalize products to suit a customer’s individual requirements is now allowing companies to sell endless combinations of their products and 3D printing is a technology that fits in well.
With standard mass production, all parts come off the assembly line or out of the mould the same, there’s nothing to differentiate one part from another. 3D printing allows parts to be personalized, customized and tweaked to uniquely fit the customer’s needs.
In the manufacturing industry one of the most cost and time intensive stages of the manufacturing process is the production of the tools. 3D printing allows parts or tools to be created through additive manufacturing at rates much lower than those associated with traditional machining. The high costs associated with manufacturing, long lead times and labour intensity are eliminated, making this an extremely attractive technology.
Moogue, a custom mobile phone case provider based in the Netherlands, have used the power of 3D. By combining several 3D technologies together, they have been able to successfully offer unique, customizable products.
Sebas Okkerman and Thijs Vernooij, the two young Dutch entrepreneurs behind Moogue, state that Moogue is “the brand for products with one common denominator; the end-user designs.”
Their target audience are unique people who have a strong character. Moogue believe that their consumers really know what they want. This belief was the inspiration for them to create a 3D platform that enables customers to design their own personalized products, quickly and easily.
Moogue used these technologies because they present the opportunity for Moogue to constantly develop their ideas. They needed a solution that would cover 3D design and automated creation of models, whilst also incorporating a web based view for their customers. Today this approach is really driving their sales.
The 3D platform they have created gives their customers the ability to design a unique customized phone case, from the comfort of their own home. The product is then 3D printed in the Netherlands and shipped to the customer. This is a relatively quick process, it only takes around 24 hours to print a full batch of cases, with cooling down time included.
The beauty of 3D printing is the advanced complexity of the products on offer and the ability to build a product in layers, out of a variety of materials, presents endless opportunities for manufacturers of custom products.
Moogue’s customers have a fully customized experience and can not only choose the design of the case, but they can also add images and text. These new layers could be quickly incorporated into the design and printed easily.
Once the customer has made their selections, they are then presented with a 3D preview of their product, which enables them to check the design and ensure they are happy, before completing their order. It’s really easy for the customer to go back and make changes at any time during the design process.
This level of customer service and attention to detail gives Moogue an advantage over their competitors because customers are more likely to be loyal and to tell their friends and family about Moogue and their products.
Figures show that the versatile market of 3D printing is growing, making it even easier for manufacturers of custom products to gain a higher market share. The worldwide 3D printing industry is expected to grow from £3.07 billion in revenue in 2013, to £12.8 billion in 2018, and exceed $21 billion in worldwide revenue by 2020.
This presents a huge potential to drive sales for companies, such as Moogue, who embrace 3D technologies and use it to their advantage to provide a great service to their customers whilst also meeting their requirements.