Armed with an extensive background in technology and marketing, Maikel de Wit founded Marketiger in 2016. Quickly moving up from a Dutch startup to a full-scale operation, Marketiger began with and continues to specialize in full-color additive manufacturing processes; however, their current success is compounded by the ability to handle a large volume of orders and streamline production too.
“I’ve always been inspired by tech and wanted to find a way to have marketing and 3D printing fit together,” said de Wit.
Transforming Full-Color Additive Manufacturing
Initially, de Wit made note of a gap in the additive manufacturing market in terms of full-color, where so many products are made out of sandstone, a material that is useful in many cases for models and visual aids; however, sandstone lacks value over the long term for handling as it tends to be weak and brittle and generally does best when sitting up on a shelf, looked at from afar.
“If people want a keepsake or a memory of themselves with a 3D printed miniature, that’s fine, but sandstone is not going to be an everlasting memory,” said de Wit. “I’ve been trying to make that clear in the market for the past two years and now I feel like people are finally starting to understand more about the solutions within full-color printing.”
“The longer you can make a memory last with your product, the better. Essentially, that was my argument as to why people should transition away from sandstone.”
De Wit was pushing the boundaries years ago upon buying into full-color 3D printing, offering advanced services when almost no one else was. It wasn’t exactly easy in the beginning either, as de Wit pointed out: he and his team were immersed in the learning curve with the Mimaki DUJ-553 for about a year, mastering what it takes to offer 3D prints in over ten million colors. It wasn’t too long, however, before they realized they would have to master an extremely efficient additive manufacturing process workflow too.
3D Printing Orders Grew and It Was Time to Streamline Production
A long-time, verified partner and participant in the Shapeways additive process chain, Marketiger founder Maikel de Wit knows what it is like to take a passion and grow it into a full-time business. He also knows what it is like to wake up in the morning, see thousands of orders in the queue, and realize it’s time to reach out for a more streamlined system in keeping up with orders, production, and delivery.
“The goal was to get orders out the door,” said de Wit. “We knew that was essential.”
The Dutch manufacturer was quickly seeing the need for a variety of features to smooth out daily workflow with the ongoing influx of orders, eventually adding all of the following for his customers:
- Safe uploading – 3D models are secure after being uploaded to a customized page.
- Streamlined ordering – customers can upload models at any time of day or night, receiving an instant quote rather than having to wait to talk to someone. The process from ordering to checking out is fast, with guest checkout available too.
- High-quality manufacturing – advanced materials and technology lead to 3D printed parts meeting customer standards and project requirements.
- Good communication – this includes answering typical questions, issuing refunds, and offering tracking after shipping products.
De Wit has no problem pointing out that he learned a thing or two from working with Shapeways, and has instilled some of the same methods in his own AM processes at customer service and factory level.
The OTTO Additive Manufacturing Ordering System Led to Further Growth
As Marketiger grew, they saw a need to start refining the art of delegation, and that began in organizing additive manufacturing orders. Overall, de Wit saw the need to make life easier for everyone. Customers needed an easier way to order, and production staff needed a more streamlined process for giving quotes and managing production.
“Orders grew and we had more work coming in, but you can’t expect ten people just to sit behind a desk and give quotes all day,” said de Wit. “We were starting to look for a more professional way to do everything.”
As luck would have it, de Wit happened to be in conversation with Miko Levy, Chief Revenue Officer from Shapeways. Upon mentioning his need to streamline processes due to increased volume, Levy mentioned that Shapeways was in the process of launching OTTO, a proprietary software that had been in development for over a decade. De Wit jumped right in, taking full advantage of the new AM ordering and production system, immediately automating processes and managing high customer demand.
“With OTTO, everything just went crazy good,” said de Wit. “Orders were coming in real-time, going out on time, and it was perfect.”
In automating wherever possible and continuing to work with and draw from Shapeways, de Wit and the Marketiger team have been able to scale everything as business has grown, their team has grown, and their number of 3D printers, customers, and orders have grown. Not only has de Wit witnessed the launch of a proven business model but he and Marketiger have put it into action for improving workflow at Marketiger–giving everybody involved more time to focus on the products, research and development, and allowing more key accounts to come in.
“Working with Shapeways and incorporating new software allows us to take care of our customers rather than spending time on other stuff that can easily be automated,” said de Wit.
Shapeways makes world-class 3D printing more accessible to everyone through automation, innovation and digitization. Our purpose-built software, wide selection of materials and technologies, and global supply chain lower manufacturing barriers and speed delivery of quality products.
Shapeways’ digital manufacturing services have empowered more than 1 million customers worldwide to produce more than 20 million parts using 10 different technologies and 90 different materials and finishes. Headquartered in New York City, Shapeways has ISO 9001-compliant manufacturing facilities in Long Island City, N.Y., and Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Contact us at www.shapeways.com to learn more.
OTTO enables manufacturers to offer 3D printing to their customers without any capital expenditure. Our manufacturing enterprise software is easily integrated, simplifying production of 3D printed parts in any volume with a wide variety of suitable materials and technologies—meeting the most advanced standards for any manufacturing enterprise.
Contact us at www.ottosoftware.com to learn more.