RE: Online quoting - some statistics from Materialise

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 01:25:28 EET

On Thu, 28 Feb 2002, Brad Johnson wrote:

> - If everyone has online quoting, what will happen to
> the market? Will there be a price war? How will that
> affect things?
> - What is the future of e-commerce within prototyping?
> Seems most of what I hear is that making models is a
> very skilled art and it's impossible to determine how
> much it will cost without first seeing the project
> specs? Is this true?

At the current [primitive] state of the art, I'd say it is true.
Projects are very individual: even just at the level of building a
single model on a given system, the constraints of the process and the
intentions of the clients have to be taken into account. Customers,
as a class, can't be relied on to know whether a model will serve
their needs.

I tend to think that online quoting might find its niche among
high-volume repeat customers.

On the other hand, do high-volume repeat customers shop around a lot?
Personally, when I need a series of models, establishing a working
relationship with a specific service bureau, so I can trust them to
build and finish optimally for each particular job, is far more
important to me than shaving a few bucks at one place on Tuesday and
another few at another place on Wednesday.

>From under my service bureau hat, I would never want to quote a job
without knowing what it's for. After all, at least half the
prospective clients that I see don't need RP at all, or don't need the
particular flavor I offer, or don't have data that passes a
five-second sanity check. Some of these people are worth talking to,
but giving them an online quote would just muddy the water.

Maybe I'm at the far end of the curve here - I have this impression
that most service bureaus don't see as many novices as I do - but it's
worth noting that a curve exists: there are a lot of users and
potential users for whom online quoting doesn't make sense.

Bathsheba Grossman (831) 429-8224
Creative prototyping
Bronze sculpture

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