MakerBot announced the opening of a “new and larger” factory in Brooklyn, NY, where they will produce 3D printers. What does this mean?
Many question MakerBot’s future after the recent launch of a potentially significant lawsuit against them and their owner, Stratasys. Some say this suit puts the company in a place where they might never sell more machines.
But we disagree with this assessment. Here’s why:
We believe MakerBot is undergoing a massive corporate transition, shifting from the original culture of a startup to one that has a more corporate approach. To that end, the company has replaced their CEO and most of their senior management, often with folks from Stratasys. They’ve completely re-engineered their sales and distribution methods to be much more scalable than before. They’ve been working on fixing machine problems, but also have increased their support capabilities.
And, this is key, they have refrained from introducing new equipment, something the company did each year since its inception.
Think about it: they’ve stopped releasing new equipment, while bolstering their sales capability.
Now they’ve added a new factory capable of producing even more machines.
This is part of their larger strategy, which we believe to be this:
- Clean up internal processes to make them scalable
- Re-engineer the sales and distribution to be scalable
- Build a factory that can produce more product (i.e. scalable)
- Then, launch a powerful new machine with the newly-built MakerBot company, leveraging existing consumer familiarity to increase sales.
Why not? They’ve had two years to work on something new. Two years to observe the competition and absorb their successes and failures. Two years to integrate Stratasys’ patents, tools, materials and other expertise. Two years to get it right.
A new 3D printer could be terrific, if they work through it properly. And if so, they are now set up to make and sell a great many of them.