Someday soon, the question will no longer be, “Does a purchase make sense?” but instead, “How many printers do we need?” Until then, it’s your job to prove to your organization’s decision makers that the investment is worthwhile and the time is now.
Craft your entire proposal keeping those decision makers in mind. What are their hot issues? Validate the purchase by transforming benefits into tangible results. Profit improvement is the ultimate goal of any business action, and it is achieved by either increasing sales or decreasing expenses.
Compare the cost of outsourced machining and third-party 3D printing services to the cost of 3D printing in house. Include all expenses – everything from part cost and shipping to labour costs, such as getting quotes, placing orders, inspecting parts, and protecting confidential information.
One customer reported that their savings versus machining, for 40 jobs, was $58,000. In a single year, the company had 750 similar jobs, which adds up to more than $1 million saved. Using this data, the company’s justification showed a payback period of just four months.
Outline how much faster – and better – product development will be. The speed, efficiency, and capability of 3D printing remove the barriers of time, cost, and effort when making prototypes. You will produce more prototypes, which deliver more value.
Using its own 3D printers, one company reduced a project’s lead time by 42 working days. This meant that the product development team gained project capacity—it could do more work with the same staff. Rather than losing steam while waiting a week or two for machined prototypes, the team completed prototype reviews within a day and moved quickly on to design revisions.
Describe new activities you’ll be able to do that you’re not currently doing. These activities are likely to deliver the most value; they are also the hardest to quantify and justify because you will be forecasting. Outline opportunities that are currently not practical (or impossible) when limited to traditional prototyping or manufacturing processes, such as producing models very early or very late in the process, or making highly complex or multi-piece models. You may even be able to foresee tackling new products or entering new markets.
One customer reported being able to create larger quantities of models and more varieties of models – even single-purpose models to meet a specific customer need. Equipping their sales people with models provides a hands-on experience for customers and helps close more sales.
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