That’s all the time it’s taken for everything from cooking to needlework to revolution to find itself and many of its processes online. A technology unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, it’s completely changed how life, communication and work happen for most of the human race. Even that which sits intentionally outside it, like nuclear reactor security, feels its weight, since the internet’s potential for influence seems to know no bounds. U.S. manufacturing occupies something of a middle ground. While it hasn’t intentionally fenced itself off from the World Wide Web, most manufacturers and machine shops still go about their business like it’s 1990. With so much potential lying around online, what gives? CNC machining may happen in real time and space on a factory floor, but conducting business around it doesn’t have to.
If you think the RFQ, phone calls and faxes are more than sufficient in accomplishing your manufacturing aims, you’re right — so long as they’re the only tools your competitors are also using. As more and more of 21st-century life makes its way online, however, you can bet dollars to donuts your competitors are making their way online, too.
Think of what that means. In a highly competitive marketplace, having a great shop isn’t the only key to winning market share. You also need to get there first. Manufacturing in the 21st century without leveraging the speed and versatility of the internet makes about as much sense as using a horse to pull your car. Yes, you’ll be moving, but just barely.
Your customers — everybody’s customers — spend a lot of time online. Facebook alone commands 50 minutes of everyone’s day. That experience of life, communication, commerce, and work has upended consumer expectations. Your customers want it now and they want it customized, and they’re as loyal as a mosquito at an outdoor music festival.
With customers who move at the speed of online, your business operations can’t afford a slower pace. It’s not enough to improve your reaction time; you need to transform it. A better internet machine shop is an essential ally on the road to that transformation.
It’s a well-documented bit of irony that the labor-saving devices that flooded the marketplace in the early 20th century didn’t actually reduce the amount of housework women did. It just changed how they went about that work. In many cases, it actually increased the time they spent.
Trying to stay on top of a global supply chain is surprisingly similar.
Yes, you can source jobs from almost every corner of the planet. Yes, that variety means: Theoretically, you can drive costs down and increase profits. Yes, technology (the phone, the fax machine, email, etc.) has made managing all those far-off moving pieces possible, but aren’t you doing just as much work — if not more — than you were before? Put it all online. By building an internet machine shop that handles all aspects of production for you, including procurement, machining, logistics and quality controls, you can finally achieve a simplified supply chain.
A better internet machine shop is one that utilizes the internet to drive growth, diversify their customer base, acquire jobs, and source materials and tooling all in one place. That way, when your dreams come true and every person in the country decides they want to run production through your shop, your better internet machine shop will be able to deliver without blinking an eye.
Don’t miss out on the greatest manufacturing technology ever invented. The internet can provide you the speed, flexibility and competitive edge you need. You just need to know how to leverage it.
Find out how Xometry can help you build a your better internet machine shop here.