Additive manufacturing, the digiproneur's environment

For quite some time now digital entrepreneurs have predominated in the world of business. They seem to have taken the world over the last few years with all their software, apps, online services and other digital tools. Although this highpoint would appear to be gradually coming to an end. In the meantime another generation of successful entrepreneurs, who we call 'digiproneurs', has emerged. This is because they are seizing opportunities from the digital world, such as additive manufacturing, in order to rapidly bring tangible, physical products from a lean production environment onto the market.

About 90 per cent of Belgian companies currently managed by incubators have chosen online and/or software-based business models. The only problem is that in the meantime, consumers have become used to receiving these services free of charge. This has resulted in very tight margins in the sector.

With additive manufacturing, one of the key areas for digiproneurs, a technology is available today that offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to rapidly start up scalable and stable businesses with limited entrepreneurial risks attached.

Lean production with additive manufacturing

With additive manufacturing, digiproneurs can fully adhere to lean production. A lot of freeware is also available, including Tinkercad, Autocad and Google, thus avoiding the need for expensive software licenses. Moreover, investing in their own printers is unnecessary, because production can be outsourced to external service providers or platforms like Hubs. And finally, sales can be done without having to integrate complex online shops into their own websites. There's plenty of existing platforms for this, including Etsy 

The multiple applications of additive manufacturing 

Apart from freeware and external platforms, additive manufacturing actually provides important advantages for creating a successful business. The technology allows businesses to quickly bring out custom products to suit the market. They can rapidly provide solutions for specific problems or demands from the market, or convert the available information into potentially successful products.

The potential is exceptionally wide-ranging: from basic products with simple designs, through to complex, high-tech 'smart' products where the hardware and software come together, with everything in between: smart consumer goods, add-on solutions, spare components for industrial use, medical applications, add-on solutions for existing consumer products, educational tools, the list is virtually endless. Moreover, there's a substantial possibility that tomorrow's most ground-breaking application from additive manufacturing isn't even on today’s list. It's rather like twenty years ago, when nobody could possibly predict the impact of Google and Facebook.


It's also true that digiproneurs can cash in on the many advantages of additive manufacturing:

  • No need for big investments (moulds, minimum quantities, stock, shipping, etc.).
  • Extremely short times-to-market (from the initial concept to the finished product within weeks or even days, as opposed to months or years with traditional production methods).
  • It is also possible to make improvements and introduce new features within a short space of time.
  • On-demand printing, therefore stocks become unnecessary.
  • Thanks to the on-demand principle, products can easily be modified (specific colours, extra functionality, etc.) to match the customer's demands.
  • This will result in customer willingness to pay higher prices for products that are exactly what they want.
  • Moreover, customers would be willing to pay for the products in advance. This prevents cash-flow problems arising, which all goes towards successfully expanding the business.

Would you like to become a digiproneur and take on the world? Then these 10 tips will certainly come in handy!


(Photo above  ©