Over the course of our years supporting a wide variety of customers, we’ve come to understand how different customers need and want to be supported. In response, we recently introduced 3Diligent Direct, 3Diligent Free Marketplace, and 3Diligent Premium Marketplace. This is the first of a series of blog posts helping you understand these new services better and the sorts of projects that are best suited to that service level.
Today we tackle 3Diligent Direct.
What is 3Diligent Direct?
3Diligent Direct is our service to support those projects that require a bit more hands-on support.
How Does 3Diligent Direct Work?
When you Create an RFQ, we ask whether you’d like to submit your job to 3D Direct or 3D Marketplace. If you select 3D Direct, it flags your RFQ to be held up for a formal discussion of the specifics of your project. Selecting 3D Direct also exposes the “Confidential” check box on the second page of the Create RFQ form, allowing for our stringent Confidentiality Provisions to be applied to the project. Neither of the Marketplace options provide this feature.
We will consult with you on the project, including a deeper discussion of your project objectives, acceptable trade-offs with respect to material, process, and finish, and perhaps most importantly, how you’d like for us to engage with our vetted supplier base. Typically, we’ll identify the top three suppliers for that specific project type, gather preliminary feedback from them on the project, and then circle back with you to identify a single partner with which to complete the project. With that being said, we can utilize as little as one partner on a project to minimize the number of eyes that ever see your project. Furthermore, the customer may never know it was you who submitted the project, providing another layer of confidentiality protection.
As the project unfolds, we’ll play a direct project management role, serving as an intermediary to handle all the nitty gritty elements of your project management. You’re welcome to call or email us throughout the course of the project, where we’ll play a hands on role and loop in the engineers running the project as necessary.
In the abstract, what kinds of projects are best for 3Diligent Direct?
The best projects for 3Diligent Direct are the ones that are either a) confidential, b) not particularly well defined, or c) high leverage.
Confidential projects are a great fit, because it’s only through 3Diligent Direct that you can opt into our confidentiality provision. Our confidentiality provision was drafted with an understanding and expectation that we’d be supporting customers with highly sensitive information, but that we’d need to share some of that information with our production partners. We have drafted a very rigorous confidentiality provision so as to ensure that whatever NDA you’d like for us to sign, the obligation our suppliers have to us to protect your information is even stronger.
Projects that aren’t especially well defined are a great fit, because 3Diligent Direct pricing assumes a degree of project management and direct consultation about the different options for the project. If you aren’t sure which process or material may suit you best, simply submit your RFQ through 3D Direct, and we’ll take a hands on approach in sorting through different options for you and arriving at the best final solution.
High leverage projects – those that are of critical importance – are also great fits for 3Diligent Direct. While you can get great quality parts from any aspect of our service, with 3Diligent Direct projects, we’re personally handling the drafting of a bid and ongoing oversight of production. This can be well worth the additional cost of project management baked into our 3Diligent Direct prices relative to Marketplace jobs.
In other words, if you want to limit the number of companies eligible to bid your project or if you’re wide open with respect to the materials and processes that might fit for your project, 3Diligent Direct is the right play. Such projects really aren’t a great fit for Marketplace, which opens the project up to more of our supply partners for bidding and where suppliers aren’t in a very secure position to coach you through the early stages of your
More specifically, which applications use 3D Direct?
R&D Projects are commonly 3D Direct jobs. They are typically competitively sensitive and oftentimes have unanswered elements when it comes to material and process that will be best for the project.
Production runs are also commonly 3D Direct jobs. These types of projects generally benefit from a deeper level of hands-on interaction with the 3Diligent team.
Lastly, projects with very high quantities – especially on tight timelines – are a great fit for 3D Direct. 3Diligent brings to bear manufacturing capability across North America…on projects where we can bring to bear dozens of machines at once – something very few companies can do – our capability shines. Stitching together these different suppliers is easier done by us on a 3D Direct job than you on a 3D Marketplace submission.
Where can I go from here?
If you’re interested in submitting a 3Diligent Direct RFQ, simply get signed up, click RFQ, and you’re off. Just be sure to click 3D Direct on the first question!
Have a look at this YouTube video to see the Create RFQ process. It’s also posted as a user tutorial on the 3Diligent Dashboard. We look forward to supporting you on a project soon!