On the B2B marketplaces of the future, capacity is the most valuable asset

Whether in testing, manufacturing, or machinery, excess capacity is in high demand. With supply chains tightening during the pandemic, more and more companies realize the potential that lies in monetizing their free capacity. Companies such as Xometry, Orderfox, and LabShare have paved the way to digitized, global B2B marketplaces that connect supply and demand more efficiently than ever before.

Maryland-based Xometry is a true pioneer of its field: its platform connects companies with manufacturers around the world.

The results? By September 2020, the company already had 30,000 customers using the platform, as well as relationships with 5,000 manufacturers worldwide. As per Crunchbase data, Xometry raised nearly $200 million while private. The company is now seeking public market capital mostly for its general corporate expansion plans.

The “Google of the CNC industry”

Another example is Orderfox, a company that connects the players of the CNC sector on a free, global, and easy-to-use platform. The network’s intelligent filtering features bring together manufacturers and suppliers, thereby reducing the costs of individual transactions, while net productivity is increased through higher utilization. The members of this community can actively manage the process of digitization and meet the requirements of Industry 4.0.

The website was born in 2017, building on significant technical expertise in the field of machine tools, software, and automation. All services and features are free on Orderfox’s site, including listing or bidding for CNC machinery old and new. The optimal utilization of machinery is at the heart of the system: in case of low utilization, manufacturers in the metal and wood processing industries can conveniently find CNC orders. For purchasers, the site offers a range of contacts, from series production to companies with expertise in highly specialized, gap-filling products.

The digitization experts at Orderfox are taking steps to become the “Google in the CNC industry”: machine builders around the world are invited to present themselves on the site and thus become part of the industry network.

A new and exciting player in the field of B2B marketing is LabShare, the online platform that connects demand and supply in the testing industry. Their concept brings together labs, engineering centers, and manufacturers on a worldwide platform. The model builds on exploiting the capacities of labs that would otherwise remain unused, thereby minimizing costs and maximizing the utilization of resources on a global level.

Behind LabShare’s platform lies a well-compiled database of accredited labs, each with a detailed overview of their quality of service. A system of personal recommendations provides an accurate overview of customers’ experience with a particular laboratory, allowing them to rate labs based on quality, communication, technical competence, and time management.

As seen in the case of Xometry, Orderfox, or LabShare, it’s easy to recognize the international trend that shifts the focus towards the optimization of existing capacities. The popularity of B2B marketplaces might well lead to a decrease in our ecological footprint, while platforms connecting industry players might make global production processes greener, cleaner, more cost-savvy, and efficient in the long run.