Manufacturing Month continues! The Bluegrass Region has benefited from the presence and investment of manufacturing companies like Toyota, Jif, and Webasto (discussed last week), but Lexington’s manufacturing industry has a valuable and unique asset: MakeTime.
MakeTime is an online manufacturing marketplace for machine time by the hour, based in Lexington. Through MakeTime, machine owners can sell available machine time to buyers who need machine capacity, helping sellers maximize the usefulness and value of their equipment and helping buyers complete orders.
MakeTime was designed to make manufacturing more efficient and to help the manufacturing industry grow. Founder and CEO Drura Parrish is a third generation manufacturer from Henderson, Kentucky, with a background in architecture from SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), focused on fabrication and design. Early in his career, Parrish understood that fabrication shop machines used by artists and architects could also be used to make other manufactured parts, and had seen that demand for machine usage fluctuates over the year resulting in extended periods of time where machines sit inactive. Parrish decided to capitalize on the value of machine flexibility by buying and selling machine time to manufacturers, at first by hand and on paper. Last year, Parrish scaled up his operations and created MakeTime Inc.
“Making is the backbone of the U.S. economy, and domestic manufacturing is the eighth largest economy in the world. Yet American manufactures lose billions a year in job opportunities due to such inefficiencies,” Parrish said at MakeTime’s launch in 2014. He continued, “MakeTime’s marketplace for buying and selling machine time by the hour will usher in a new era of transparency and efficiency that will enable on demand distributive manufacturing that will mirror the scalability of cloud computing services.”
Just one year ago, MakeTime started out with only 4 employees. Today, the company has 28 total employees.
MakeTime is easy to use. Buyers in need of machine time make an account at maketime.io, upload a project file and details on materials and timeframe, and await a supplier matching their request.
MakeTime streamlines and simplifies the process for the buyer and the seller by handling and arranging all shipping and by offering a single, simple-to-use access point to a consolidated group of available manufacturing machine suppliers. Furthermore, if the buyer is uncertain about how much machine time will be needed, MakeTime’s in-house engineer can make recommendations using a computer simulation to estimate time needed based on the specifications submitted. MakeTime is free to use, with a 15% transaction fee charged to the seller when a project has been completed. As of this month, over 1,000 users have worked through MakeTime, clear evidence that MakeTime is fulfilling a need in the manufacturing industry.
Suppliers are vetted by MakeTime and judged on criteria such as previous work, references, previous clients, OEM ratings, ISO certification, credit score, and shop visits conducted by MakeTime. This evaluation and qualification process helps buyers ensure that their products will be high quality.
So far there have been no disputes between buyers and sellers. MakeTime encourages communication between buyers and sellers about what is expected, what is feasible, realistic time frames, and project cost.
Both buyers and sellers benefit from using MakeTime. Buyers can decrease lead time, find trusted manufacturers with a quick quoting process, and create products and prototypes faster and more efficiently by outsourcing to other American manufacturers. Sellers can earn additional profits, increase their customer base, and sustain employees through demand lulls by selling inactive machine time.
MakeTime is particularly valuable to startups. By offering a way to create a product or prototype, MakeTime can help entrepreneurs get their business off the ground without having to make a costly and risky investment into machine infrastructure.
Parrish summarized MakeTime’s potential: “In a nutshell, MakeTime allows buyers unlimited scalability without having to buy new equipment, and it offers sellers the ability to monetize idle machine time on a moment’s notice. Folks, we are increasing the bandwidth and the liquidity of manufacturing, and this means more innovation, more sustainable machine use, and more jobs for American manufacturers.”
MakeTime launched on November 20th, 2014 and is about to celebrate its one year anniversary! Congratulations, MakeTime!
Special thanks to Kasey Hall, Director of Marketing at MakeTime, for discussing MakeTime with CLX Research Director.