While ProtoCAM had a very diverse customer base and was successful, the company saw that much of its business was based on a service model delivering just-in-time single prototypes based on one-time projects. They recognized that their rapid prototyping technologies could also be used in rapid manufacturing of finished products. Doing so could help them expand their capabilities and generate a steadier revenue stream. “To do this, we needed to know where opportunities might exist for products produced through our unique capabilities,” notes ProtoCAM President Ray Biery. “We wanted to explore markets, find opportunities, identify key players and gauge their interest.”
Through an exclusive agreement, MRC and sister center DVIRC entered into a partnership with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) to provide highly advanced technology research solutions. RTI implemented a Technology Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI) process to identify potential opportunities.
The results of the TDMI research revealed that the medical market is extensive and there were
many players. The research provided several solid opportunities and additional insights
that have the potential to develop into new business.
- Partnership possibilities. RTI identified several businesses that had established relationships with medical companies, but did not have a means to supply the level of product quality required. ProtoCAM is currently in discussions with these companies for an arrangement that would allow ProtoCAM to leverage its unique technology and serve as a manufacturing partner.
- Market connections. A European company was identified that was looking for a presence within the U.S. medical market. Opportunities are being explored for ProtoCAM to provide product manufacturing support.
- New product applications. A new technology opportunity was identified in the production of specialized models of the brain based on individual CAT scans.
- Solid sales leads. MRC generated four solid leads, conducted all prospect qualifications and due diligence for ProtoCAM.
- New market opportunity. While the research focused primarily on the medical market, leads were also identified in unexpected markets.