Rhonda Gustafson in customer service

Outstanding Customer Service with Rhonda Gustafson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

There’s no business like small business when it comes to customer service. Especially when you have the experience, drive, and processes to back it up. Rhonda and her husband Kim started 3D Composites in the fall of 2013 after visiting an additive manufacturing convention that peaked their interest in the business. By December they had purchased their first printer and by 2015 had already opened a second location.

“I worked in the medical field for 30 years, CAT scanning works with sliced layers and 3D printing lays down in slice type layers too.” Rhonda’s past experience has given her a unique perspective on the aerospace additive manufacturing industry. “Being a pilot I’ve worked on our airplanes, we’ve done our own maintenance and I’ve gotten familiar with the parts.” She has taken these skills and expanded them into a company that has a proven record of quality and service.

Her favorite part of the job is customer service, “Quoting jobs, getting the parts made to their specifications and hearing back that it works…that’s really rewarding for me,” and it shows through the commitment to the company’s Quality Objectives. “We document those daily. The on-time delivery is tracked on our production schedule and the error-free product is tracked through our (paperwork)”.

Rhonda has also made sure that the attention to keeping the quality goals is also reflected in the employees of 3DC. By bringing on folks like Kim M., Mary Lee, and Sara to manage part production she is leading a team of a majority women to keep the company on track. “We mainly look at the best person for the job really and as it happens most recommended applicants have been female.” As industry standards go they seem to be in good company. “Engineering is definitely weighted heavily male, but management is actually more female…almost all of my buyers are female.”

But for now the future holds growth. Expanding the services 3DC provides in the shape of processes like vacuum thermoforming and CNC machining has been just the next step for a company that has more than doubled since its start a few years ago, and you can expect to see the same commitment to quality service throughout.

Click here to learn more about Rhonda and the quality standards for 3D Composites and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.

Committing to the Date with Mary Lee Larson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

A major part of the success of any company is organization, especially for a small business that is starting to establish itself in a competitive industry. Fortunately for 3D Composites we have Mary Lee Larson keeping the production process in-line for maximum service.

Mary Lee is the Production Manager for 3DC, meaning she has her hands on each part as it moves down the line. “I track production – as parts come off the printer I check them in and make sure that they’re documented, update purchase orders, check parts into shipping and ship everything out.” She makes it sound simple, but with additive manufacturing there are a lot of moving parts. Orders for small and large production runs means keeping tabs on each and every part over an extended period of time which can be a handful, but Mary Lee has the manufacturing experience to back it up.

“I come from a timber industry background, I was there for 28 years, 13 years as an environmental safety manager and 15 years as an inspector for all the product before it was shipped out.” Company dynamics were a little different for Mary Lee back in the timber industry, “There were only three women and forty men, but when I moved into management it became a little easier…the other two women moved up ranks as well, starting at the bottom with me and moving up to an engineer and a machine operator.”

Since starting at 3D Composites in the beginning of 2016 the workplace has changed for her. “I think it’s great [working with majority women at 3DC], you see it in the news everyday now, [women] are starting to move into the forefront.”

Part of the assurance of working with 3D Composites is the 100% on-time delivery record. Mary Lee manages the production tracking and shipping schedule, making sure that each and every part gets out the door and in the hands of the customer as scheduled.

Click here to contact us for more information about how we can help you take the next step towards printing your design, and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.

game parts

3D Printing Threatens Spare Parts Manufacturing

Winds of Change: From Traditional to 3D Printing

The spare parts manufacturing and logistics industry is worth a whopping $400 billion market. A couple of its biggest players are the aerospace and automotive sectors. We know that spare parts makers provide a steady stream of spare parts specific to each make and model for planes, trains, trucks, cars, etc. They are often complex parts produced in small series and sometimes for decades, in cases where equipment has a long life span, experiencing constant wear and tear.

As of late, the scenario is a’changing. 3D printing is looking like it is taking over the spare parts manufacturing and logistics industry. 3D printing is now making possible production of small-series parts, on demand and on location for major industries across the Us and the world. The technology can produce virtually any solid object, even those with complex architectures, and in a range of materials. Right now, about half of additive manufacturing is used for prototyping, saving manufacturers time and money, with less wastage and without expensive tools and molds.

Analysts and experts project that within three years fully 80% of global 3D printing capacity will be dedicated to making finished products. For example, General Electric expects to print 40,000 jet-fuel nozzles for aircraft by 2020. And that’s not good news for the traditional spare parts manufacturers.

Many major players are now investing heavily on 3d printing Research & Development. NASA and Boeing of aerospace are big investors. In the automotive manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and BMW are players also, as well as Deutsche Bahn and Siemens in railways and transportation. These are just the early adapters but a wider sweep looks inevitable.

Logistics companies can ride this wave of change, to their own advantage actually, if they are willing to embrace the opportunity to develop market-leading B2B services. For example, turnkey spare parts management could be expanded to include spare parts on-demand solutions, like developing a virtual warehouse that securely stores CAD print files. Another option is putting up fabshops that offer localized print-on-demand and delivery services. They can also use their networks of distribution centers, warehouses, and sophisticated inventory management software. Most manufacturing and logistics organizations think they still have time to adapt to 3D printing shift, but this is becoming less true every passing year.

Open to Shifting Winds in Seattle

To all spare-parts manufacturers and logistics companies, for your working needs, come see us at 3D Composites. We have two convenient locations to serve you in Greater Seattle.

Kim Brooks-Mathieson

Precise Quality with Kim Brooks-Mathieson

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

For 3D Composites “precise quality” means taking the time to ensure that each part not only passes the quality inspections guided by industry standards, but also is something the we can be proud of.

Quality Manager Kim Brooks-Mathieson has worked in quality control for 25 years and now she is bringing her expertise to 3DC. Kim has worked at 3DC since April of 2016 writing procedures to regulate production and inspecting parts to certify that they are up to the standards of our customers’ expectations.

Since her start in the industry in 1991, Kim has seen a lot of change in her field. “In the quality department there were usually 2 women and the rest were men. I think that women have come a long way in the aerospace industry…when I go out and network I see a lot of women now, as opposed to 25 years ago when I started, I was one of the only (in the Snohomish county area) woman in quality at the time.”

When I asked Kim about working for a company that is predominantly women she said, “I love it, I think we get a lot accomplished. And I like that fact that age wise there is a mixture of us… it’s nice to see the diversity.”

She is currently working on updating the company to meet the new AS9100 Rev D certification standards for 2018. “My day is taken up with audits and writing procedures. By staying on top of up and coming stuff, keeping us on track quality wise – our documents, keeping on top of paperwork, that’s how I help to ensure our quality and service.”

“I’m proud of what we do, I’m proud of what we send out. If I can help it we’ll always aim for the best in quality parts.”

Click here to learn more about the different services offered by 3D Composites and check back next month to learn more about quality and service with the women of 3DC.

Women working int he 50's

Exploring Quality & Service with the Women of 3DC

Since its establishment in 2013, 3D Composites has given a spotlight to both the precise quality of our product and the outstanding customer service that our company provides. In the following weeks we’ll take a look at how the women of 3DC hold the essential roles of establishing and maintaining these traits.

While women only make up 29% of the United States manufacturing industry and 15% of aerospace manufacturing¹, 3D Composites holds a majority of female staff, making up about 72% of 3DC’s population.

By taking a look at the women of our company we’ll see the beginnings of 3D Composites, how it has grown into a thriving aerospace supplier, and the backgrounds of those who know what it takes to create a business that holds up the standards of quality and service.

Click here to learn more about 3D Composites and make sure to check back to stay updated on our news and stories.

¹ Demographic percentages taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS Reports: Women in the labor force: a databook, November 2017 https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/2017/home.htm