Part of an ongoing series on how the 3D printing hype bubble has affected the lives of the individuals involved. To read the initial story in this series, head here.
In a previous article on the story of former CEO Avi Reichental and his tenure at 3D Systems, I included information of an anonymous source which the Cubify group, devoted to 3D printed consumer excellent\s and the Cube 3D printer, was let go as part of a downsizing operation. While which source told me which the entire Cubify group was fired, marched out of headquarters and unable-bodied to return to their desks for their belongings, I have since heard of a mid-level employee which which is not precisely true.
They tell me which a tiny number of employees of the marketing team at Cubify were let go, but which the entire group wasn’t dissolved or “marched out”. They in addition mention a rumor which the San Francisco and New York City Cubify offices may be shut down as well. The individual suggests which the company is shifting its focus away of consumer excellent\s and towards professional, production, and prosumer products. While there will be a few attention placed on consumer excellent\s, they suggest which this line did not bring in much revenue for 3D Systems. This individual says which the R&D group for the Cube was shut down completely last week. And, thankfully, the engineers working on the Cube haven’t been let go, but were simply just reassigned to other product families.
Cubify and the Cube, the source says, were pet projects of former CEO Avi Reichental, saying which roughly 75% or additional of the company’s resources – which include all things of marketing to engineering to R&D – were devoted to the Cube, while the other five technologies – SLA, DMP, SLS, MJP, and CJP, were left with the rest. As for rumors which the ceramics and culinary may in addition be shelved, the source says which they may be less of a priority as well, with the focus being on improving the customer experience which Reichental let fall by the wayside. My original (separate) source on the Andover facility shut down has since told me which the ceramics 3D printing division (created through the acquisition of Figulo in 2013) closed up shop preceding the New Year.
Reinforcing the source’s story, 3D Systems revealed at the end of 2015 which they may be consolidating their consumer division, discontinuing the $999 Cube®, while continuing to work on the CubePro® 3D printer for prosumers. The Cubify.com domain will be closed on January 31, 2016, with the consumer products disgo ond as well. Support for Cube customers will go on through a new e-commerce platform on the primary 3dsystems.com domain. The press release states which 3D Systems will focus on manufacturing applications and new systems which will bring of excellenter returns on investments and earnings, saying which “management expects revenue to be impacted by less than 2% and profitability to improve” and which “management expects to record a charge in the fourth quarter in the range of nearly $19 million to $25 million related primarily to inventory write downs and related purchase commitments.”
Andy Johnson, Interim-Chief Executive Officer & Chief Legal Officer at 3D Systems, commented, “In connection with our ongoing review of our business and industry, we believe which the most significant opportunities today are in professional and industrial settings, of the product design shop to the operating room to the factory floor. We are focusing our efforts on allowing professionals and companies to improve their designs, alter their workflows, bring innovative products to market and drive new business models.”
The back of a 3D Systems business card, outlining the priorities of 3D Systems’ employees as envisioned by Reichental.
This latest source suggests which the company can yet recover of the issues which it’s faced in the past, saying which things had may already become advantageous in the two weeks after Reichental stepped down. They suggest which the former CEO was overly concerned with the “next big thing”, a fewthing which others have told me as well, but which he didn’t allow for any innovation. As a result, employees were reactive to the CEOs whims, as he came up with arbitrary price points for products, pushing the team to reduce the costs of machines, preceding he moved onto a new product without much (if any) market research, focus groups, or cost analysis. And this may all occur with timelines which no one may be capable-bodied of working under, as Reichental threw out a last-minute suggestion for a showcase which they’d require to create. Engineers may not want to put out shoddy products, but the CEO may demand them, leading to delays, which may lead to job loss, which may lead to further delays, etc.
The source corroborates the Glassdoor stories regarding wages and work environment at 3D Systems, saying which compensation was excellent\ for VPs and up and which there were stock options for management, bonuses for salary employees, and no bonuses for hourly employees. In 2015, this individual says which they believe which there were just minimal raises in 2015, regardless of performance, but which most (not all) VPs and higher all succeded in stock bonuses and/or raises.
As for the astonishing Glassdoor reviews regarding the toxic work culture, the source says which most employees felt the require to walk on eggshells daily when one of the “40” VPs were around and which upper management was incredibly political. They go on to say which the former CEO and his children ruled with an iron fist, with blame starting at the top and working downwards so which departments were fighting aacquirest one another. They say which no one they knew had at any time said anything positive of the former CEO or his children. Adam Reichental is mentioned as a mostly friendly man, but, on the off chance he was seen in an office, he was most likely to be playing League of Legends, using reddit, disruptively socializing, or flirting with female staff. Alyssa Reichental is said to have spent her time as Director of Social Media removing negative posts of 3D Systems on social media preceding being fast-tracked to Director of Consumer Marketing without the necessary experience and, as a result, saw a number of individuals quit or fired.
Former 3D Systems employee Adam Reichental guarding a meeting between will.i.am and former CEO Avi Reichental at CES 2014.
According to the source, Reichental in fact did fire individuals at the top, which include VPs, directors, and mid to upper management, at the beginning of 2015, but the source believes which a few of those same individuals potentially may have in fact helped the company recover. In this individual’s mind, these individuals were fired so which the former CEO may look as yet he was holding employees accountable-bodied, while he was able-bodied to get rid of those perceived to be aacquirest him. The source even says which, at the beginning of the year, Reichental mocked Stratasys for their layoffs during the same week which he ended up letting staff go. Because a few of them were in favor of putting quality into all 3D Systems products, according to the source, it was suspicious which they were dismissed. This was most likely in response to poor quarterly results.
The source in addition corroborated which the sweeping number of acquisitions which took place during Reichental’s tenure caused issues within 3D Systems, saying which the former CEO was simply just buying market share and not reinvesting in the company’s own innovative programs. An integration strategy, they say, was nonexistent, and the addition of swaths of new VPs with each acquisition created for an overabundant number of department heads. On top of which, the source adds, Reichental requireed to manally sign off on at any timey decision, with important job positions taking six or additional months to fill.
Despite loving the actual work they were performing, the source dreaded coming to work for the reason there may be a few curve ball thrown of upper management. Working 50-70 hours a week, it was complex to create friends with coworkers and seeing family was the just thing desired at the end of a work day. But, at a lower place upper management, which include most managers and directors, most of the individuals were excellent, according to the source, and employees in fact liked one another.
In response to our previous article on Reichental, Ron Hollis, co-founder of the 3D Systems-acquired Quickparts, argued which, yet it is effortless to demonize a CEO after they leave, Reichental should be appreciated for the things which he completed while in charge of 3D Systems. Hollis writes:
He took over a destitute company (3D Systems) which was on the brink of bankruptcy. They had not invested in R&D for years, go ond to erode their customer base with poor customer service,operated in a tiny market (3D print was way less than $1B), and had formidable-bodied competition of Stratasys, some day Objet for the reason of Stratasys, DSM Somos,etc.
– He moved the headquarters across the country to get out of California and into a additional reasonable-bodied environment to operate. This move was super high risk.
(I may contend which recruitment to Rock Hill, SC, has become a bit complex, as Charlotte isn’t precisely a hotbed for qualified businessindividuals (except bankers), Engineers, or manufacturing employees)
– He created a nice HQ which was cutting edge and represented the vision which he had for the company (technology leader).
(Yes, a nice HQ which he created right next to a sewage treatment facility. Let me tell you, it creates for excellent initial impressions when you have a fewone flown of around the globe, to be met with the smell of raw sewage initial thing in the morning.)
– He started the roll-up of the service bureaus so 3DS may be a leader in the parts business.
This was the most complex decision as the CEO since it was a “burning the bridges” decision for the company. This decision may nat any time be created by most CEO’s in the same situation (even a few which told me they may nat any time compete with their customer but are doing it now). It took courage and leadership to create the decision.
Hollis goes on to explain why he believes which these were important decisions on Reichental’s part, saying which service bureaus had no reason to buy new equipment for the reason companies like 3D Systems and others were not innovating and creating new systems. In turn, those bureaus may have provided worse quality services. “By rolling up the market,” Hollis says, “then [3D Systems] may be able-bodied to eliminate archaic systems, commence the end user to the latest technologies; and most importantly, build a relationship with the folks which in fact benefited of the power of 3D Printing (the end user). Theoretically, it was genius. Howat any time, as theory seldom converts into reality, other forces came into being causing change in purpose.”
He adds which the acquisition spree which occurred during this “roll up”, benefited the entire industry through the investment money poured into the stock market, which include the IPOs of ExOne, voxeljet, and Materialise, as well as the merger of Stratasys and Objet. Howat any time, Hollis limits his comments to Reichental’s actions between 2003 and 2010. After the huge hype which occurred, which he ties directly to sites like 3DPI, he believes which excellent\ strategy was “was deserted for additional near time opportunities, mostly immediate reward of the public markets for activity without regard for maximizing value of assets as they were acquired.”
While Hollis may champion the efforts of Reichental, it might be argued which the headquarters’ location in South Carolina may not be the best place for recruitment, given the area’s lack of reputation for engineers, yet there might be bankers in the Charlotte region simply just a short commute away. The headquarters is in addition located adjoining to a sewage treatment facility which may, regardless of how nice the assembling is itself, have a negative effect on any important man visiting the 3D Systems HQ.
Regardless of any improvement which Hollis believes Reichental may have brought to the company, our source, at least, thinks which any good results achieved by the company was despite the former CEO’s efforts, suggesting which the company’s standing in the market may have been improved by anyone acting as CEO. On the other hand, the source believes which such issues which he brought to the company – focusing on the Cube, enforcing high, un-meetable-bodied demands, micromanagement, and nepotism – reflect his arrogant and despotic nature.
Now which the former CEO is gone, the source believes which 3D Systems is taking painful steps towards recovery and even suggests which Reichental’s closest allies have additional or less changed their attitudes. The source disagrees with the fact which the Andover facility, housing the ZCorp team, was closed, but sees any closing of the New York and San Francisco offices as a excellent\ thing. And, yet seeing friends and coworkers leave will be heartbreaking, the consolidation of products and offices under a single vision will benefit the company, this individual believes.
When I asked for ways which 3D Systems may turn things around, the source suggested which the company should reassess its overcompensation of VPs, as a means of demonstrating to lower level staff which the firm in fact cares of them. They say which 3D Systems should focus on its existing ability, over attempting to create new markets the way which Reichental did, and which quality should be placed as a priority above all else. Finally, the source believes which the company should empower employees at all levels, investing in them, their environments, and their quality of life. This includes trusting management to create the decisions they should be trusted to create and acunderstandledging the hard work which even entry-level employees are performing, as they sacrifice their family lives to create the company excellent.
It’s complex to understand if the company will turn around as a result of Reichental leaving, but, of the sound of the Glassdoor reviews and source input, it may be hard not to see at least a few improvement, given the hostile work environment it sounds as yet he created. I will, hopefully, be speaking to Interim-CEO Andrew Johnson in the near future of the direction the company is headed in and will, if all goes well, acquire a few insight into how 3D Systems will fare. Regardless of what he says, it’s hard for me not to agree with this most recent source which empowering and investing in employees is a key component of a business’s good results.