Makelab is an innovative and rapidly growing 3D printing service bureau located in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 2015, the company now serves a number of different industries, including engineering, design, jewellery, architecture and entertainment. Operating a dozen 3D printers in-house, Makelab’s growing team of industrial designers and technical experts provides a range of manufacturing solutions for its customers, including rapid prototyping, 3D modelling, finishing and full-colour printing.
Seeking the digital thread
For any service bureau, ensuring a smooth customer experience is a key priority. Makelab goes above and beyond this by placing a heavy emphasis on customer service throughout the entire process, from the first interaction to the last. Part of ensuring a great customer experience means ensuring that the quotation process is as quick and as seamless as possible. As a result, Makelab was looking for a way to simplify its quotation process – which, at the time, was done through a manual form submission on the company’s website.
Additionally, Makelab faced the challenge of trying to connect the incoming requests received from customers to its internal project management and production operations.
As Co-Founder and CEO of Makelab, Christina Perla is responsible for overseeing all areas of the company’s operations, from production to company strategy, marketing and PR. In an era of rising demand for 3D printing services and increasing competition within the sector, Christina and her team recognised early on the need to digitise in order to provide a seamless customer experience and achieve maximum efficiency in its internal operations.
“Before, customers had to send manual requests through the old manual form on our website, but we wanted a digital solution that would allow us to be able to control and manage all the incoming projects coming in one place,” says Christina.
“Ideally, every 3D printing service bureau would love to have a fully digitally connected office that connects with the customer-facing side as well.”
Managing Makelab’s growing volume of projects is no easy task. With clients that span so many different industries, balancing the different workflows and fluctuating demand throughout the year can be challenging. The lack of a dedicated software platform to track key statistics made this even more difficult.
“A lot of the projects we receive are project-based. Our customers could be repeat customers but that doesn’t mean they’ll print with you every month – it heavily relies on what they’re working on. While we can’t control those industries, we do make ourselves always available and aim to educate our customers on other ways of utilising 3D printing.”
Makelab was therefore on the search for a solution that could help to digitise and automate each of its key functions, from quotations to project and production management.