MakerBot isn’t even making its own stuff anymore. In a blog post, the company says it will be outsourcing manufacturing of all 3D printers to a contractor named Jabil.
Writing that this is “taking another step towards positioning MakerBot for the future,” the company also says market volatility is to blame — and notes layoffs are looming:
To achieve our long-term goals, we also need to be able to navigate the volatility of an emerging market. Working with Jabil will position us to better manage the rapid change in our industry and reduce our manufacturing costs to compete more effectively in a global marketplace. We expect that adopting a flexible manufacturing model will allow us to quickly scale production up or down based on market demands, without the fixed costs associated with maintaining a factory in New York City.
We will transition production from our factory to Jabil over the coming months, which means that we will have to part with some of our talented and hard working colleagues at our factory. I value the commitment and contributions of every single one of them and we will support them as much as possible to find new employment. Taking this step was a very difficult decision, but I believe that it is the right path forward for MakerBot. We will retain key personnel from the factory in-house in the areas of logistics, repair, planning, quality, and operations.
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It’s not clear when the handoff will be completed, but MakerBot as we know it is all but dead. If it can’t even make its own 3D printers, how can we respect it as a cornerstone of the maker community?