AMFG / Blog / Dealing with a Global Crisis: 3 Ways Digitisation Can Help 3D Printing Businesses Stay Afloat

Dealing with a Global Crisis: 3 Ways Digitisation Can Help 3D Printing Businesses Stay Afloat

Maintaining business continuity is becoming increasingly challenging amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many 3D printing companies are having to switch to remote work, limit face-to-face meetings and travel and deal with disrupted supply chains.
 
These challenges, however, reveal the growing importance of software and digitisation in helping to keep businesses afloat. 
 
Every 3D printing company needs to ensure business continuity in three key areas: customers, employees and supply chains.
 
In this article, we explore how digital transformation can help businesses to adapt to the uncertainty in each of these areas. 
 

Customers 

Your customers may be in self-quarantine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected and continue to provide an excellent service. Increasing your online presence is, therefore, becoming crucial to future-proofing your business. 
 
One solution that can help maintain business continuity in a time of uncertainty is an online quotation and ordering platform on your website. Workflow software for 3D printing is one of the most effective tools to set up such a platform.
 
A web quotation platform allows your customers to receive quotes instantly and place orders at any time, even outside of your business’s opening hours. In this way, you can simplify the ordering process for your customers. 
 
Another way you can stay connected with your customers is by leveraging digital channels, like social media and email. 
 
During this time of social distancing, we are witnessing social media becoming an even stronger force of connectivity. Engaging with your customers through social media with relevant, useful content presents an effective way to encourage interactions and, ultimately, build a stronger relationship with your customers. 
 

Employees

The current situation with the virus outbreak will impact every aspect of our lives, including work. Many employees will be working remotely and travelling less, while face-to-face meetings with customers will either be postponed or done digitally.
 
In such cases, workflow management software can help your team stay on the same page by using one platform to manage projects and communicate with clients. 
 
Importantly, digitising 3D printing workflows with software provides the opportunity for automation. For example, manual pricing of parts can be a very cumbersome process, taking your employee anywhere between a couple of hours and a whole business day. 
 
In the case of a shortage of workers, spending too much time on pricing can be very inefficient. On the other hand, automating cost calculations can help your employee reallocate time to other activities that can bring in more value. 
 

Supply chains 

In light of the global turmoil, your 3D printing business may face challenges in managing supply chain disruptions. 
 
One way digitisation can help is by improving the visibility of your operations. According to a study by the Business Continuity Institute, 72 per cent of suppliers who have dealt with a breakdown in their supply chains have lacked the full visibility needed to come up with a fast and simple solution.
 
Tracking your inventory and machines in real-time provides faster notice when a disruption does occur. With a dedicated workflow management platform system in place, it becomes easier to track material, product and inventory bottlenecks, and use this information to address day-to-day disruptions. 
 

It’s time to consider digital transformation 

 
While it’s impossible to anticipate the arrival of global crises such as the coronavirus outbreak, 3D printing businesses can mitigate their impacts by going digital. 
 
Making a digital connection, with your customers and across your operations, is the foundational element for ensuring business continuity and preparing for any future disruption.