April 28, 2016
Seven years goes by fast. That’s the length of time it took for MakerBot to go from startup and maker community darling, to a subsidiary of Stratasys, to a company looking for cost-cutting measures wherever it can find them.
The latest move by MakerBot is the decision to outsource the production of its 3D printers to a Florida-based company named Jabil. The move will result in the shutdown of MakerBot’s Brooklyn facility, complete with a layoff of all staff associated with production.
“To achieve our long-term goals, we also need to be able to navigate the volatility of an emerging market,” wrote Jonathan Jaglom, MakerBot CEO in a blog post. “Working with Jabil will position us to better manage the rapid change in our industry and reduce our manufacturing costs to compete more effectively in a global marketplace. We expect that adopting a flexible manufacturing model will allow us to quickly scale production up or down based on market demands, without the fixed costs associated with maintaining a factory in New York City.”
The move follows earlier staff reductions. Not only has the consumer market not gone in the direction pictured by founder and former CEO Bre Pettis, competing 3D printer makers have pushed the price point lower and lower. In a time where some college students can make a 3D printer from Lego and an extruder head, price has become a major factor for home 3D printers.
Earlier this year, Stratasys’ direct competitor 3D Systems decided to abandon the home 3D printer market. Time will tell whether Stratasys makes similar moves or sticks it out as startups come and go.
Below you’ll find a recent video featuring Bre Pettis.