The CEO of fabrikado was interviewed by startupvalley.news and answered patiently questioned question.
Introduce yourself and the fabrikado startup briefly to our readers!
We are a startup from Balingen. We have combined our forces to implement the digital networking of production capacities with customer needs. Patrick Genkinger, Marc Eberhart and myself, Tommy Hoffmeister, are strong in different areas and each bring a lot of knowledge and many years of experience to the table; Patrick is our engineer and has a lot of experience in the laser processing of sheet metal and pipes. From design to production he covers the whole field. Marc is our "Mr. IT", as he has been working on IT solutions for 20 years, developing cloud and application services and has enormous experience in digital strategy. I stand for the company's strategy and development at fabrikado.com.
How did the idea of fabrikado come about and how did you get together as a team of founders?
Such ideas arise - as is often the case - over a beer! We have known each other for a long time from other projects and had the idea of transferring the possibilities of digital processes to the industrial production of metal components and thus radically simplifying the entire procurement process. We know that almost every manufacturer has free production capacities, which is very difficult to fully utilise, however. OEMs, for example, have residual capacities that are not systematically marketable; a manufacturer who supplies a finished product does not want to sell sheet metal parts under its own name.
On the other hand, we also know that it is time-consuming and sometimes frustrating for customers to ask for quotations, which can then often not be compared with each other. We have developed a solution for these problems in the age of digitisation!
From the idea to the start, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourselves?
We knew that our idea was fully in keeping with the spirit of the age. We also knew very soon that it was feasible and therefore simply made a start. First, we had to understand the entire processes along the value chain. We also looked at applications and solutions from other industries and sectors - it is unbelievable what has already been implemented in other industry sectors that is still completely new territory in production. Then we simply started programming - it is important to test, test and test again!
In order to compensate for our chronic lack of programmers, we entered into very successful cooperations with universities, such as the ESB in Reutlingen. And with our idea, we attract creative people who are interested in Industry 4.0. That gives us hope.
The issue of financing always plays an important role for startups. So far, we have exclusively financed ourselves and are currently concluding a round of financing.
Who is fabrikado's target group?
We are addressing both ordering customers and producers or manufacturers. For both, we are offering an unprecedented solution. The typical ordering customers are small businesses, medium-sized companies and prototype manufacturers, which need individual parts and small batches. Everyone needs components; both the metalworker around the corner, which needs balustrades or railings, as well as the control cabinet or container manufacturer, which makes covers, for example. These are so-called B-parts, in other words non-strategic components, but nevertheless individual parts. Furthermore, we are talking to larger companies in order to integrate our processes with their purchasing structures.
On the side of the producers or suppliers, we are aimed at all those who would like to make full use of their free capacities in a simple and straightforward manner. And we offer OEM manufacturers the opportunity to fill their non-marketable free capacities and to do so in a very simple way.
What service do you offer?
We offer an Internet platform that combines customer requirements and free production capacity. The customer uploads its drawing and receives an instant quotation and the desired delivery date. We offer our service for numerous manufacturing processes such as lasering tubes and sheets, laser sintering metal and plastic, plasma or waterjet cutting or also 3D printing as well as other machining methods such as bending, powder coating and much more. We are gradually expanding our range of services for other production and machining processes and releasing these online step by step.
We give suppliers or producers the opportunity to generate ready-priced orders by simply “clicking” on them – simple and almost a case of picking an order up "en passant" when the machine is not being used to full capacity.
How does fabrikado work? What makes you different from other suppliers? Where do the benefits lie?
fabrikado.com must always be looked at from two sides; on the one hand from the customer's point of view and on the other from the supplier's point of view. For both, we have developed separate, digital portals. fabrikado.com works independently of suppliers, which is the biggest difference to other order portals. We achieve supplier independency by pooling free production capacities from many producers in the supplier portal and thus making them available to the market.
In the order portal, the customer uploads its drawing, specifies further criteria about its order and receives a transparent instant quotation for the desired delivery date. The fabrikado.com calculator checks the drawing digitally for errors in the background, checks existing production capacities and prices everything up. The customer accepts the offer and is then informed about all steps of its order through its account.
Suppliers and producers have a separate supplier portal with a specially developed supplier management system, with which everyone works without exception. All our suppliers are our partners! They are certified according to our specifications, meet our strict quality requirements, apply our packing and shipping instructions and also fulfill our product liability criteria. The producers are connected to fabrikado.com via a cloud service, sometimes designate their free capacities or machines and can pick up exact orders to optimize their capacity utilization.
The benefits are plain to see: the customer benefits by immediately receiving an optimal price, the supplier benefits by making full use of its production without additional effort in marketing and sales. In addition comes the fact that the complete order management system takes place digitally on fabrikado.com, only the production runs analogically.