As I think about 2022 I can only get excited about the state of the industry and where Cimquest is heading. Certainly, it has been a bit crazy over the past 2 years; however, it is now time to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. One of the few things that seem to be staying the same is that the rate of change in the world is continuing to increase. Speaking of changes, I thought I would summarize some of the changes that have occurred:
- CNC Software was acquired by Sandvik.
- M&A activity and consolidation in the industry continue to increase.
- Many 3D Printer companies are going public utilizing SPACs.
- Metal 3D Printers become Cimquest’s fastest-growing segment.
- Production 3D printing (metal and plastic) is no longer a pipe dream. It is a reality.
- The number of manufacturers producing 3D Printers continues to rapidly increase making the selection of 3D Printers for your business and applications an even more daunting task.
- Cloud-based computing and AI/Machine learning are becoming a much more strategic technology that is enabling greater efficiency and more capable products.
An important saying to take to heart was well said by Jack Welch “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near!” There are 2 things to really think about and process when reading those words 1) the rate of change in the world is dramatically increasing 2) if you and your company are not changing at least at that rate then you and your business are in serious jeopardy. For our many customers who specialize in the production of metal parts and/or plastic parts, production 3D Printing (aka, Additive Manufacturing) is here and is being quickly adopted. If you are not gaining knowledge and first-hand experience in Additive then you are going to be losing business to your competitors. The fastest-growing segment in the job shop world is by far those shops offering 3D Printing. Those shops who understand and have expertise in both traditional (CNC / Molding), as well as Additive, have a leg up on everyone. Take a look at the growth of companies such as Fathom 3D, Protolabs, Xometry, Forecast 3D, and Shapeways. Most of the companies are fairly young and have already gone public. Hopefully, you recognize the importance of this major shift occurring in our industry and are looking to embrace Additive Manufacturing.
So while the future is very exciting, here are some thoughts about the past:
Later this year will mark the beginning of Cimquest’s 32nd year! While it is hard to find the exact statistic, from what I can tell the survival rate of businesses getting beyond 30 years is about 15%. When you look for companies that have survived to that ripe old age under the active management of the original founder I would imagine the percentage is dramatically lower. The great news is that I recently saw a statistic from Kellogg Insight that says “a 60-year-old startup founder is three times more likely to succeed than a 30-year-old founder.” Now you might ask why is that relevant to Cimquest, a 31+year old company? First of all, we have made some really significant changes at Cimquest over the past several years to help address the changes occurring in our industry. We divested our SolidWorks business to allow us to better focus on our core manufacturing products and services. Most recently we divested our relationship with Stratasys who made up 100% of our Additive Manufacturing portfolio to diversify to a more comprehensive offering from several vendors to better serve our customers. So in many ways, we are a 31-year startup! Another reason the Kellogg Insight statistic is relevant to Cimquest is that I will be turning 60 this year. So my chances of success with these new “startup” changes are many times more likely than when I founded Cimquest at a wide-eyed and naive age of 28.
I have found it to be an amazing journey where I have had the pleasure of working with so many fantastic people: customers, vendors, even competitors, and, of course, our valued team of employees currently working by my side, as well as those in the past who helped to build Cimquest into such a great organization. So hopefully your journey has been as great for you as mine has been for me. My main message is that this exciting world of Manufacturing, which has had the spotlight shown on it due to all of the supply chain issues over the past (almost) 2 years, is very much my passion and through the vehicle called Cimquest, I and my valued team try to help our customers become more enabled and efficient through our partnership.
I am very much looking forward to our 35th anniversary and even more exciting partnerships with the incredible companies producing products and parts for the world! As Cimquest and the rest of the world continue our journey into the adoption of production Metal and Plastic Additive Manufacturing, let the team of experts at Cimquest help guide your success in this compelling technological advancement.
Stay safe and be well!