In late 2017, Proto Labs Inc., a company with well over two thousand employees dedicated to rapid prototyping purchased a much smaller, RAPID, at around $120 million. RAPID Manufacturing, a company out of Nashua, dedicated to metal fabrication, has been estimated to be worth $8 million around 2010.
Two peas of a pod
RAPID was different from most of its competitors. While other companies concentrated their revenue from a few customers, often times have the top customers make up about 90 percent of their revenue, RAPID has been able to keep things more diverse. They claim that since their inception, a single customer has never exceeded 3 percent of their total revenue. Moreover, even now, their top ten customers only account for a small portion of their revenue.
RAPID’s road to success in this way can be attributed frankly to their practices of rapid response. This is made possible thanks to their eRAPID and RapidQuote quoting software. As a result of this automation, when a customer uploads their CAD file of a required part, they almost instantly get a quote. And so, is very similar to their new parent company, as they share these end goals. The founder of Proto Labs, Larry Lukis, in an effort to drastically reduce the manufacturing time of injection-molded plastic prototype parts, designed a complicated piece of software that instructed a network of mills and presses. Thus, parts could be made in a much shorter time.
RAPID’s growth in the years since its inception has been attributed greatly to the team behind it. Focusing on making the founder’s dream come true and providing excellent and fast service has shoved the company over the theoretical hump a new contender in the fabricating industry must overcome. Their growing sales team of experience folks have helped RAPID thrive and turn into a huge player in the somewhat dominated ecosystem of the fabricator business wherein a majority of the business is through much larger companies. A clean decision to let customer relationship develop over time has helped them thrive and ensure sustainable growth over the years.
The two companies, Proto Labs, and Rapid met each other at various events and slowly got acquainted. Eventually, Proto Labs hired RAPID to get some metal work done for customers. This led to them realizing how similar the two operated in terms of business and sales. Moreover, they could complement each other. While RAPID worked on sheet metal, such as metal bending, metal rolling and steel fabrication, Proto Labs can work on injection molding and laser cutting. Thus, RAPID would handle some of the larger workpieces while Proto Labs dedicated their time to working smaller ones. And finally, RAPID could fill in the void of sheet metal components that Proto Labs lacked. All of this set the stage for a very positive merger and allow the companies to grow even further together. They may even be able to expand their horizons to stainless steel fabrication and aluminium fabrication.