No parts, no delivery. This is what it all boils down to. Think about a complex assembly like a tractor or a sedan. One late supplier stalls the production of countless vehicles. A missed shipment of painfully simple parts costing $.05 apiece can delay the delivery of millions of dollars worth of tractors, cars, and airplanes, just to name a few.
Why does this happen? Sometimes it’s from factors outside of our control like severe weather or labour disputes. Other times it might be less dramatic and your job just keeps getting put on the backburner by one of your suppliers. A better question would be how do we keep this from happening?
This is one of the major problems that fueled the thinking behind MakeTime. Coupled with the desire to revitalize manufacturing in the United States and make every effort to reduce lead times without compromising quality, the world’s first online alternative to traditional contract manufacturing was born. MakeTime gives buyers a single point of entry to an entire network of prequalified suppliers where machine time can be purchased from them instantly. This means flexibility, scalability, and efficiency for manufacturers across the board.
How It Started
MakeTime launched to the public in November of 2014, but the concept had long been developing in the mind of CEO, Founder, and third generation manufacturer Drura Parrish.
He spent a lifetime witnessing the effects of supplier scheduling errors at his family business and then experienced them for himself in his own fabrication company. He witnessed first hand the U.S. manufacturing industry’s sharp downturn and the underutilized machines left in its wake. Parrish saw an opportunity to solve problems for both sides of the equation.
With MakeTime, he gives buyers a risk-free way to multi-source suppliers closer to home, which in turn fills the capacity of machine shops that are underutilized. By doing it online and with a simplified method of quoting, leads times can be cut in half.
From then Until Now
Since its launch MakeTime has grown rapidly. The platform now has over 500 users representing more than 3.6 million hours of available machine capacity and over $2.5 billion in buyer side demand. This, combined with an excellent team of industry leaders, led to the company’s recent completion its Series A round of funding totalling $2.65 million.
How it Works
MakeTime lets buyers purchase time on machines in two ways:
- Make a custom request. Buyers upload the file of what they need produced and provide important details like the number of hours it will take to complete a job, the material being machined, the type of machine they need, tolerance specifications, and the date they need their order.
Their request is sent to a network of prequalified suppliers matching the capabilities that have been specified. Suppliers return an hourly rate and other information about their shop. From here, the buyer selects the proposal that best matches their needs.
- Purchase machine time directly. MakeTime’s network of suppliers also post Machine Time Listings. These are hours they have available on their machine that can be purchased instantly on the MakeTime website.
Once machine time has been purchased, 50% of the transaction amount is paid to the supplier. The remaining 50% is held in escrow until the buyer has their order in hand and has signed off on the quality. MakeTime keeps 15% as a transaction fee and the balance of 35% is paid to the supplier. Considering that the supplier’s machine would have been idle otherwise, its safe to say that this is a fair deal! To further protect both buyer and supplier, all transactions are bonded up to $100,000.
A Story of Customer Success
One of our earliest customers came to us from Southern Ohio after seeing our “Don’t Buy a New Machine, Buy Time on One” ad on Practical Machinist. During periods of high demand, he found himself turning down orders due to a lack of in-house capacity. He had considered purchasing new equipment but was concerned about maintaining the lease when work was slow to come in.
He placed a small pilot order on MakeTime. Satisfied with the results, he slowly started to run more orders through the platform. Four months later, MakeTime has become a virtual expansion of his business. He keeps his core capabilities in house and outsources the rest through the platform. He also intends to become a MakeTime qualified supplier, to ensure that he keeps his machines running at full capacity even during slow months.