From the TCT Show’s main stage, I spoke of being on the cusp of positive change reflected in a shift in attitudes, beliefs and actions. I believe that we are at a transition point from which the AM industry will continue to build momentum that builds in a way that makes advancing into the future easier with each passing day. Essentially, this shift will accelerate the arrival of the promised future.
The crux of this observation is that we are experiencing an alignment amongst all the constituents in the industry. Instead of toiling to discover needed information or to make a technology work for the intended application, vendors are now collectively and proactively working to support the user community by supplying real information, real guidance and purpose-built technologies that open the doors to real opportunities. This is in stark contrast to the days of grand visions and bold claims that showed possibility but offered little support in making them a probability.
Working in collaboration to meet a shared objective, information is being produced and exchanged and technologies are being developed to address the needs, wants and desires of the user base. Working in concert, possibilities emerge, and the probability of success grows.
However, being on the cusp means that we are transitioning, which in turn means that not all of the vendors are abiding by this new discipline. There are still “bad apples” that will exaggerate the truth, mislead through omissions of fact, or blatantly lie. In a very competitive market where it is hard to stand out and be noticed, the motivation to deceive is comprehensible, but it is no longer acceptable.
Those that behave badly to serve their interests alone, in stark contrast to the interests of the AM industry, jeopardise progress by undermining the momentum that we are building. While one bad apple won’t spoil progress, if we allow too many to exhibit this bad behaviour, we will suff er from their actions. Rather than pushing beyond the cusp, we could roll backwards and have to regain lost momentum. So it is time to put all AM vendors on notice that we, the AM user community, will no longer tolerate this behaviour. We will not overlook or excuse deceit. As a maturing industry, we expect participants to behave accordingly, maturely.
I recognise that there is some degree of salesmanship that will have to be tolerated and that the actions of an individual should not condemn his/her organisation. Therefore, I suggest that we start to communicate bad corporate citizenship where misinformation and dishonesties are part of an organisation’s DNA. To get this movement started, I suggest that you start by telling your peers when you encounter a bad apple. Don’t keep it to yourself, allowing the same thing to happen to others, which allows the rottenness to spread and infect the perceptions of broad swaths of our user base. Alternatively, tweet your experience using the hashtag #AMBadApple. However, be judicious and don’t act with prejudice. Before conveying an experience, contemplate if the action is indicative of the organisation’s directives or just the character of an individual.
For those that want to affect change anonymously, message me through LinkedIn to share your experiences. I have no intent of exposing deceit based on a single incident, but if a pattern emerges, I will investigate. Where warranted, I will make the information public. Additionally, I will report, without naming companies, the nature of common misdeeds to off er insights on items that must be diligently examined.
AM advances with the successes of the user community; solving problems and creating new opportunities. On the other hand, failures, disappointments and letdowns become setbacks. Working together, and working towards common goals, we will experience far more success. Let’s take control by encouraging and supporting AM vendors that are working with us while discouraging bad behaviour that erodes the momentum that has been achieved.