April 4, 2022

Award-winning Freedom of Choice with National Association of Manufacturers

By Protolabs

Designing parts is complex enough. Quoting them should be easy and the system should help you to create the best part at the best price with an acceptable shipping time. That was our goal when we built out our new quoting engine for parts. It seems to have struck a chord. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently awarded us with a 2022 Leadership Award in the Collaborative Ecosystems category. This is the eighth straight year in which we’ve won a Leadership Award, including last year’s award for our sustainability efforts. 


injection molding digital thread

Tear Down to Rebuild

By rebuilding our quoting system, our aim was to provide you with an empowering and efficient experience that allows you to adjust your quote to suit your desired specifications and turnaround time. Moreover, we wanted any changes to be visible in real time, revealing the cost implications for changing those parameters. It’s the initial element in our digital thread, which keeps all information regarding a part digital—from quote to production to shipping, speeding transactions.

More specifically, our digital quoting platform allows customers to self-select material, lead-time, manufacturing process, select quantities and understand volume pricing options without any human interaction, all huge timesavers. Next, a customer’s uploaded CAD file transforms into a digital twin for automated DFM analysis, which is delivered to the customer in less than four hours. From there, the project is translated into “G-code” and sent to the production floor where digital process controls and inspection ensure parts are accurate and sent to the customer in two weeks or less.

Benefitting You

The NAM Collaborative Ecosystems Leadership Award recognizes companies that use Manufacturing 4.0 technologies to enhance internal and external cross-functional collaboration. That helps boost productivity, satisfy customer requirements, accelerate innovation, and achieve greater speed and agility. Manufacturing organizations that win this award create corporate structures and policies that support a collaborative enterprise and develop effective strategies to further their growth to the benefit of their customers.

This honor comes on the heels of our recent induction into the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network, which recognizes industry leading efforts to implement Manufacturing 4.0 technologies. Our Plymouth, Minn., facility is only the 10th Lighthouse based in the United States. Protolabs shares this honor with 24 Global Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever, as members of this exclusive network.

In the end, it’s not just about awards. They do, however, reflect our fundamental philosophy that we want our quoting and production experience to be something that helps you move forward quickly, rather than holds you back. That’s collaboration.