This is 3D Partners Network, a matchmaking organisation between suppliers and resellers across the additive manufacturing industry.

Although we know that a successful integration of Additive Manufacturing depends on an intelligent partnership, it’s often a Holy Grail to find the right partner for one’s project. Methods to find the right business partner obviously vary from one company to another, but there is sometimes a preference for matchmaking platforms.

A team of industry experts based in the UK decided to make this trend a reality for suppliers and resellers across the AM industry.

They’ve realized that resale channels are currently developed mostly by suppliers researching any potential vendors, then cold calling and cold emailing them, trying to establish a relationship. This is not just very time-consuming, but also has a low success ratio, with resellers already being defensive and frustrated about the frequent unwanted and irrelevant spam.

On the other hand, distributors and resellers often lack an efficient way to look for new suppliers and products. Trade shows and search results are dominated by larger companies, making it very hard for startups and smaller suppliers to get visibility. This also means that many e-commerce stores end up carrying the same brands, involuntarily creating a price competition for themselves, and reducing the pool of products available to end-customers, a press communication reads.

With a matchmaking system, 3D Partners Network will allow interested companies to find each other based on certain set preferences. Criteria such as product type, company size, region etc. will be evaluated by computer-based algorithms similar to those used by popular dating websites and apps. A similar approach is implemented by Aniwaa to help users find the ideal 3D printer.

“The algorithm is able to handle queries as simple as ‘3D scanner’, but also more complex wordings, like ‘large-format IDEX FDM printer, built in the United States’. For any questions more complex than that, we are happy to speak to members individually, and advise based on industry knowledge”, said Alicia Vazquez Martinez, head of communications for 3D Partners Network. “One of our main concerns is to respect the time and inbox of all members. By allowing companies to fill out a very detailed questionnaire, we can be fairly certain that only companies that really match each other’s’ profiles can send connection requests. Even then, both parties need to confirm interest before contact details are exchanged.”

3D Partners Network will rely on premium services to generate revenue, such as channel development for suppliers, third party logistics, branding and marketing services etc.

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