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Improving Collaborative UK Additive Manufacturing 
with AMUK

Additive Manufacturing UK (AMUK) is a trade association with the goal to establish the UK as a world leader in additive manufacturing adoption and development. Recognising the vast potential of additive manufacturing, AMUK was created to aid companies that develop and create technology, materials, and services for the UK AM sector.

Initially a government-supported collaboration with a focus on additive and 3D printing manufacturing, AMUK was established in 2014 to assist in leading the UK’s additive manufacturing strategy, and in 2020 became part of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA).

While being an early adopter of Valuechain’s Network Portal, AMUK has undergone changes and evolutions in strategy and leadership since its initial adoption, and we were curious to speak to AMUK about why they decided to continue to invest in Network Portal, and how it fits into their current development strategies.

When asked about their history with the Network Portal and what compelled them to continue engaging with the platform, AMUK said:

“We have slightly a different story than other organisations that have adopted Network Portal, as when we inherited the AM Network from the MTC they were already using Network Portal. We continued to use the portal at the time as it was already in place while we reviewed the organisation assets, but as time has gone on, we have come to recognize the benefits of what it can bring to the community, and this has fueled our want to keep investing in the platform. 

When we took over the AMUK Network there was an active discussion in regards to ‘do we need this?’, and we did go out to look at other options, and we felt that we already had exactly what we were looking for, and we were very interested in the development of it and the network-to-network connections offered when compared to other service providers who didn’t have it established in the same way.

We recognised the opportunity to continue with Network Portal and Valuechain while the platform was still in early development to help shape it, and not only help our community but the wider engineering sector both in the UK and abroad. It’s something we’re very keen to be a part of as helping the manufacturing sector is a main focus for AMUK, so we can really see the benefits, and that is why we were happy to continue with Network Portal.”

Getting the most out of Network Portal

3D Printing Valuechain

Due to the experience AMUK have with the Network Portal platform and working with Valuechain, we asked what the main tips they would give to members and
organisations looking to get the most out of the platform would be:

1. Complete your profile

2. Complete your profile

3 Complete your profile

“You only really get maximum benefits when you thoroughly complete your profiles. It’s common for potential customers to ask questions such as ‘why isn’t company X appearing when searching for metal-based printers?’ and oftentimes, even though service providers are there ready to supply, due to incomplete profiles they miss out on potential business. We believe that you get out what you put in, and if you don’t have the right information, you’re only costing yourself revenue and business. Make sure to add your capabilities, your services, and your products because that’s how you’re going to be found.”

As a leading trade association in the additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology space, collaboration between associates and organisations is key to AMUK’s strategy for continuing to standardise AM production across the UK. When asked what features within Network Portal help AMUK achieve its goals they highlighted the following:

“There’s two things in particular that Network Portal helps us with. Firstly being able to know not only who’s in the network, but who to contact, almost using it like a CRM system at times. We can go in and look at who the contacts are or go back and see who we have sent an invite to, that’s really useful to have a one-stop shop for contact information on the go. 

What we found useful as a trade association is being able to post more granular detail on our services and developments. We have a front-facing website where we might talk or discuss our services, but then within the Network Portal, we can put all the detail about how to engage and use our services in more detail in a closed-off environment to non-members, which is very important. You can view your main website as your shop window, and the Network Portal as the interior closed forum area where people can talk and engage with what services you offer and how to take advantage of those services.

The general communication features are also beneficial to us, being able to post information targeting industry-specific users is very important. There’s a real benefit to being in this internal network, it helps with internal management, being able to send out highly fleshed-out and industry-specific posts in a suitable environment. As a trade association having this system that is separate from our website and social media channels but can communicate alongside those channels is very beneficial.”

As an early adopter of the Network Portal platform, and its continued use throughout organistion and strategy evolutions, we also asked AMUK what their experience with working with Valuechain throughout the early development process of Network Portal:

“What we feel has been very good is how open to development suggestions Valuechain are, and then how they act on that development feedback with a reactive outlook to what others are suggesting, we find that very positive. Rather than speaking to a faceless entity and never hearing of the feedback again, we actually get updates and see the developments we suggest being implemented. We get opportunities to input on what we think of the platform and we appreciate that collaborative relationship and how it has been established.“

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