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Manufacturing is a multi-step, frequently highly geographically dispersed process. It is also an industry which is growing dramatically as the IoT and next-gen economy takes shape.
However the entire vertical is also a very complex one with many problems that inhibit innovation, are stacked against the small or medium size firm looking for quotes, and carries many risks from payment and delivery to the labor practices of the contracted firms. Replying to bids, particularly for smaller orders, is not incentivized. And neither bidder nor respondent has an accurate, real-time view of the supply chain process.
SyncFab plans to change all that. The firm, which has been in business since 2013, is introducing a blockchained smart contract and token system into their existing manufacturing and bid platform. This will enable simplification of the entire manufacturing process, from the bid, to selecting the firm, to delivery and payment of and for the orders.
We recently sat down with Jeremy Goodwin, the founder of SyncFab to have a chat with him about the project as well as finding out their thoughts and insights.
Jeremy. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and SyncFab?
The market isn’t slowing. In fact, it’s growing and is predicted to grow to $15 trillion by 2030
My name is Jeremy Goodwin, and I’m the CEO of SyncFab. SyncFab is revolutionizing the manufacturing supply chain by connecting buyers to hardware manufacturers through a blockchain-based platform.
SyncFab was started in 2013 and has since partnered with the cities of San Francisco, San Leandro, and Oakland as part of their civic innovation Startup in Residence program, and recognized by the White House, U.S. Department of Energy and Commerce for our involvement in the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Initiative and National Network for Manufacturing Initiative. As for myself, my background is in global finance as a Managing Director and executive for investment funds around the world. I later spent quite a bit of time in China, where I was President & CFO of Advanced China Manufacturing, leading it to peak performance of 2,000 employees and a NASDAQ IPO. Coming back home to America, I saw an opportunity to reshore manufacturing back home and make the process more efficient and thus SyncFab was born.
You have been in business since 2013 connecting bidders and manufacturers with a platform you are now tokenizing. What is the most observable issue, problem or solution that you have already been able to fix or facilitate? Creating a market of potential customers and firms?
The market is there. The market isn’t slowing. In fact, it’s growing and is predicted to grow to $15 trillion by 2030, according to Accenture Technology. The problem is that this industry is focused on the big players, and prevents independent buyers, startups and small-to-medium sized businesses from participating. We are solving this problem.
How did you come up with the idea and what was the thought process behind it?
The industry is on the brink of the 4th Industrial Revolution. With the introduction of Industrial Internet of Things and the disruption realized by blockchain, it only makes sense to provide a platform that helps revolutionize a slow moving, manual, insecure and paper-based process with a secure, digital, automated and fast-moving network that operates globally in a single, efficient platform that brings order to the chaos that is manufacturing procurement.
What is the biggest problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for SyncFab to fill?
The industry is scattered amongst systems and processes, relying on manual methods for outreach, procurement, bidding, shipping, and tracking. We allow procurement departments to automate and streamline their processes through a single platform.
What do you think is the biggest problem SyncFab will solve and why is the problem important to solve?
In the status quo of manufacturing procurement, manufacturers have little time or incentive to quote vast numbers of orders. They aren’t compensated for it but have to do it anyway. As a result, the entire process can be slow and face long delays, if an order is quoted at all. The manufacturer doesn’t want to bother with smaller orders are there’s too much work involved and little reward to participate in the current environment. With SyncFab, the process is quick and efficient, and manufacturers are compensated to participate, whether they win the bid or not, they are rewarded. Bidders can move quickly, selecting manufacturers, placing orders and on the manufacturer’s side they make better use of idle capacity and get rewarded for their time entertaining orders of smaller players. SyncFab delivers a win-win solution for both parties.
Why did you decide to go with Ethereum as your blockchain of choice and did that impact the decisions of your already impressive list of industry and public strategic partners to participate?
Ethereum is an efficient, gold standard and stable platform. They have some great improvements in their roadmap, and we wanted to utilize a blockchain that had the capability for smart contracts, security, speed, and stability to ensure a functional network. The fact that the Canadian government is using Ethereum to maintain public funding records is another vote of confidence in the Ethereum platform. We’re a Silicon Valley company, so we’re used to disruption and innovation in the tech industry. Should the landscape change dramatically and another blockchain platform emerge as superior, we would be open to re-evaluate and adopt new technology to better serve our network.
In the whitepaper, you talk about the fact that responding to RFPs is a thankless (unpaid and unincentivized) process that you hope to change. How much will each respondent receive? Is it an award that changes with the size of the bid or is it a constant amount?
The actual amount will vary based on the price and value of the MFG Token at any given time. The amount will be strong enough to incentivize manufacturers to participate, but keep in mind this is a process they must go through now and don’t receive compensation for currently. By incentivizing them to participate based on the size and complexity of the job, we aim to encourage more manufacturers to not only participate but prioritize SyncFab bids to quote orders faster.
Regulation-wise, what are the toughest challenges you will have to overcome (on a global basis)? And from where?
I think the entire market as a whole has to face the risk that governments may try to regulate, heavily tax, or shut down innovative concepts like cryptocurrencies as they stand to lose their stronghold on commerce. It’s clear that this trend is here to stay. Many governments are getting onboard, and for others, it will require regulations and tax policies to make them feel comfortable. SyncFab is a legitimate, established company with government partnerships already. We’re looking to stay within the parameters outlined by the governments we operate in to ensure a successful platform that can be utilized globally and benefit our client base.
What are the services you plan to offer that excite you the most?
We’re creating the world’s first peer-to-peer blockchain for the manufacturing supply chain and that’s pretty exciting in and of itself. With the use of our MFG Token, we’ll be able to save our customers even more time by rewarding blue-collar workers for their time quoting orders, encouraging faster quotes from reputable manufacturers for buyers to choose from, speeding up the procurement process. On the manufacturer’s side, our all-in-one platform will allow them to reduce wasted time and take on a higher volume of orders to maximize idle capacity and increase revenue. Through our technology, we’ll be allowing small and medium-sized businesses to access high-tier manufacturers that were always out of their grasps due to inefficiencies. With blockchain, we’ll experience additional advantages like better intellectual property protection, transparency of the procurement process and faster payments.
What has been your happiest moment so far working on SyncFab? On the flipside, what has been the most painful, or perhaps the most regretful decision you’ve made with SyncFab?
Being recognized by The White House under President Obama in 2016 had to be my proudest moment. It’s a gesture that not only recognizes us for being seen as a true innovator in smart manufacturing and also a sign of success for how far we’ve come as a small startup. In the early days of SyncFab, we started off focused heavily on community-sourced 3D printing. We discovered we were ahead of our time — it was too early for this technology, and through our platform, a network of manufacturers and relationships we built, we were presented with a much larger opportunity. Innovative cities looking to build Smart Cities and encourage manufacturing innovation came to us with a challenge, and SyncFab was reinvented to solve this problem, and we have shown incredible results to our city partners. We have proven our ability to adapt and innovate. With the groundbreaking technology of blockchain, we are set to spearhead manufacturing innovation once again.
There is at least one national government exploring a similar idea. How does your application differ, stack up, compete or could be integrated?
A national government blockchain would likely be closed off, centralized and less likely to be adopted by other countries. SyncFab is a global decentralized peer-to-peer network that can be used across borders allowing anyone to get hardware manufactured anywhere in the world securely, quickly and easily. As IP is secured on a decentralized blockchain, you don’t have to worry about a single government having access to and profiting off your intellectual property. There’s no reason these private and singular government initiatives can’t tap into and utilize the strength and capacity of the SyncFab network of manufacturers and buyers in the future.
Tell us more about MFG. What are its selling points and what does it do in the system?
At first, MFG tokens will be utilized in our existing web 2.0 platform to incentivize manufacturers for traditionally uncompensated time for putting together quotes and make manufacturers more responsive to time-sensitive production deadlines. Enticed by a reward for timely quotes, manufacturers are expected to respond more quickly. With such token incentives, the pool of manufacturers a purchaser can choose from might increase and diversify. On the flip side, Manufacturers will be able to provide bidders with promos and marketing incentives to continue to order from them.
In our web 3.0 blockchain platform, we see the potential for the MFG Token to replace traditional forms of payment for manufacturing orders in the system with an instant, secure transaction. We also see the potential for payments to be made to designers, engineers and consultants who help the ecosystem and its partner blockchain networks flourish.
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