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An Uber Model for Manufacturing Is Ready To Upend the Industry

Posted April 11, 2017

Under Economic Issues, Logistics & Supply Chain Issues

(Ellen Sheng – Quartz)

Nazareth Ekmekjian was on a tight deadline, and news from the machine shops wasn’t good. A designer for Boston-based Piaggio Fast Forward, a transportation and robotics subsidiary of Piaggio Group, Ekmekjian needed a prototype of a component made within a week and a half. But every shop he contacted said it would take at least two.

Finally, Ekmekjian found a company that could meet his deadline, and at half the cost. The difference? It didn’t own any machinery, but ran a network of equipment leased from manufacturers.

“It was really simple,” Ekmekjian says. “I uploaded the geometry, provided a few specifications and they took care of the rest.”

“They,” in this case, are the employees at MakeTime, a startup launched by architect turned manufacturing entrepreneur Drura Parrish in Lexington, Kentucky. Under a model known as distributed or on-demand manufacturing, MakeTime is meeting small businesses’ manufacturing needs in much the same way Uber meets the needs of passengers looking for rides. Click here to read more.