How 3D Printing Will Change the Future of Manufacturing

How 3D Printing Will Change the Future of Manufacturing


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Technology has developed to the point where we are rethinking the future of manufacturing. The idea of a do-it-yourself manufacturer is becoming more common and with the implementation of 3D printers, you don’t need the capital involved in the creation of things anymore. As this technology is becoming more accessible, more affordable and more capable, it is beginning to redefine the way we think about manufacturing and the competitive advantage it will have on the future of business. 

It seems as though the buzz on 3D printing has recently surfaced; however, many people don’t realize that the technology has been around for decades, better known as additive manufacturing (building an object layer by layer). In the mid 1980’s, pioneers Charles Hull (founder of 3D systems) and Scott Crump (founder of Stratasys) developed a range of technologies now known as 3D printing. Now, a $2.2 billion dollar industry, additive manufacturing’s fastest-growing application is in the printing or layering of specialized parts and final products.

Today you can make parts, appliances and tools in a wide variety of materials right from your home or workplace. At the same time, 3D printing is being used in a number of different industries  including aerospace and defense, automotive and healthcare, and the technology is now becoming “good enough” to serve markets that previously held no manufacturing capabilities such as small businesses, schools, and DIYers.

3D printing is evolving rapidly and the flexibility to build a wide range of products, coupled with the fact it can be done near the point of consumption, implies significant change to supply chains and business models. Experts agree that additive manufacturing will transform business and entire industries by the efficient use of resources and rapid manufacturing. Initially, it will focus on new rather than established markets and over time, opportunities to complement existing manufacturing will emerge.

In Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, Chris Anderson, author and editor in chief of Wired, writes: “The idea of a ‘factory’ is, in a word, changing. Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyping’ technologies, from 3D printers to laser cutters, is democratizing innovations in atoms. You think the last two decades were amazing? Just wait.”

Reenergize Your Business with Technology

Reenergize Your Business with Technology

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The way you are utilizing technology in your business could harness the power to help it grow your customer base, improve productivity and increase efficiency.  Your customers are connected 24/7 so keeping them empowered and informed is imperative to optimize and better coordinate the buying, marketing, selling and service processes that power your business. Here are a few tech-based strategies to help grow your business.
  1. Keep an open mind about the role technology can play in your business. For many small businesses, it’s easy to maintain the status quo.  Change, particularly related to technology, can be costly to incorporate and uncomfortable to implement.  If your business plans to compete in an ever-evolving marketplace, it’s important to keep an open mind, as you never know when major growth means becoming more of a technology company.
  2. Get in the cloud.  The cloud provides countless benefits for businesses in just about any industry.  Popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive or Google Drive store your documents and data online, as opposed to your computer’s hard drive.  This in turn, keeps information secure and allows you to access the files anywhere and from any device.
  3. Reach out with email.  According to Convince and Convert, 44% of email users made at least one purchase based on a promotional email last year.  Gain a database by having customers opt-in to receive your emails and then send monthly newsletters and promotional alerts about new products or sales.  The best way to gain success through email marketing is by frequency and follow-up.
  4. Analyze your customers.  If you have a website for your business, you are on the right track.  But what is more important than maintaining your current site to engage customers is to analyze their behaviors to drive more traffic and potential leads to your page.  Google Analytics is a free tool to show where your visitors are coming from, including what sites drive them to yours, what cities they live in, how long they spend on your site, what pages they look at and more.
  5. Adopt new technologies to streamline your business. There are always evolving uses of technology that are adaptable for both large and small businesses.  Online customer relationship management (CRM) software can help businesses manage customer data and interaction, access business information, automate sales, and also manage employee, vendor and partner relationships.  For a smart alternative to time-consuming costly business trips, use solutions like Skype, GoToMeeting or WebEx to hold voice conference calls or videoconferences.
Technology can grow companies of any size and can empower people to do even more in their businesses.  How is your business staying on top of the latest digital age and innovate technology trends?

Making BYOD Work for your Company

Making BYOD Work for your Company

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 The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend is unavoidable in today’s evolving corporate world.  With the influx of personal smartphones, tablets and laptops that connect with and use commercial resources, organizations are seeing the benefits of employees purchasing and using their own mobile devices. The question is no longer whether companies will support mobile devices.  Instead, it’s how do we secure and manage these devices in a user-friendly way? According to new research conducted by Egnyte, a BYOD policy would encourage employees to utilize more of their otherwise ‘wasted’ work time, such as commuting. Furthermore, a Forbes Insights and Google survey of U.S. business executives found that by 2016 more than half of leaders expect to use mobile devices instead of PCs as their primary business platform. A well-crafted BYOD strategy can facilitate increased employee productivity and engagement and encourage innovative ways of interacting with customers and business partners. If your organization has yet to implement a BYOD strategy, you can take several steps to get started. Create Clear Policies – This will help employees understand how to use their personal devices in the corporate environment.  Policies should explain which platforms are supported, which software is allowed and which systems can be accessed.  They should also distinctly explain the consequences for non-compliance. Prepare a Security Plan – It is important to identify possible data security threats, and creative ways to prevent them.  To eliminate as many threats as possible, your company should implement multiple layers of network protection such as data encryption for software, apps and mobile devices, security patches and updates, standard configuration setting and software requirements, data backup requirements, and password protection for devices. Implement the Policy Gradually – Transitioning to a BYOD model should be phased in over time.  Set up an organizational plan with an efficient enterprise management solution.  Your company needs to ensure your BYOD policies enable compatibility among colleagues and their devices, and that all devices are able to maintain corporate standards. Proactive organizations that embrace this trend and mold it in suitable ways to benefit the business will gain the critical lead to out–perform the competition. How are you adapting to your clients’ BYOD requirements? Do you already have a policy in place?

5 Ways to Go Green on your Computer

5 Ways to Go Green on your Computer

Many businesses today are seeing the benefits on their bottom line by becoming more environmentally friendly.  If there is one place you can go green without spending top dollar or radically changing your lifestyle, it’s your computer.  The majority of us spend our days sitting in front of the keyboard, and with just a few small changes, you can heavily reduce the negative impact that it has on the environment.  After all, as going green becomes more of the expectation than the exception, consumers are going to want to know what your company is doing to play its part. green-energy-efficient-computers Here are a few simple ways you can go green with your computer.
  1. Conserve Energy – Check your computers power settings for display, drive sleep or set your computer to auto-shutdown. Your operating systems have these settings, and a few minutes spent setting them will dramatically change your power useage. There may be times when you find yourself downloading a file, performing an update, or completing a task that takes awhile to finish.  Rather than walk away and leave your PC running overnight, install a free program such as Switch Off to shut down your computer.  This program can be set to shut down your PC at a certain time of day; so for example, if you are waiting for a file to finish downloading, you can set this program to auto-shutdown 2 hours from now instead of leaving it on all night, thus eliminating the need for excess power consumption.
  2.  Switch to an Eco Friendly Power Supply – A computer’s power supply unit is the most important power-related component, which is why companies have been releasing environmentally friendly power supplies that eat up 33% less energy than an equivalent power supply.  The idea is to provide continuous, quiet, reliable and stable power, and all of the energy needed to power the PSU’s fan, circuits and other components are reduced.
  3. Extend the Life of your Current Computer – Producing more computers requires more resources and energy to be used in manufacturing, packing and shipping.  The longer you can delay the retirement of your computer, the better it is for the environment.  Add some RAM, a bigger hard disk or a better graphics card to get as much mileage out of your computer before replacing it.  Another way to prolong the life of your PC is to make sure that it’s reused rather than scrapped.  You can sell it or donate it to someone in need.  Whatever you do, just don’t put it out with the garbage.
  4. Print Smart – It takes many resources to manufacture ink, ink cartridges and paper, so it only makes sense to think about what and when you print.  A few simple changes can be made when it comes to your printing habits such as, only printing what you absolutely need.  Reducing the amount that you print will save energy, ink, paper and may even help extend the life of your printer.  Another overlooked option is to print on both sides of the paper.  This can cut your paper consumption by as much as 50% and, as an added bonus, you’ll use less energy.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the saving in energy costs may amount to as much as $170 during the life of the printer.
  5. Switch to a laptop from a PC – If you are looking to upgrade to a new system, you might want to consider picking up your next computer in a laptop form.  It has been shown through sales that notebooks have surpasses desktop computer sales in terms of number of units sold.  The bottom line is that you could examine your purposes for buying a computer and determine whether a desktop PC is really needed. A standard 14-15” notebook eats up way less power and will take up much less space on your desk than a desktop PC that needs 2 power outlets and occupies half of your table.
These are just a few of the many ways you might go about living the green life on your desktop and going green doesn’t have to mean radical changes to your digital lifestyle.  It is important to really determine your exact requirements regarding your computing needs. Ultimately, it is all about being able to identify an opportunity that can be exploited to help save you time and money all while doing your part for the environment.

How to Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Technology

How to Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Technology

With technology changing so rapidly, it’s easy to fall behind on the latest products, news, updates, and models.  But antiquated equipment can easily lead to irritation, greatly reduced productivity, and increased negativity in the workplace.  An excellent way to avoid unnecessary frustration is to make sure that employees work with current equipment, but if it seems like every time you open a magazine or turn on the TV there is an ad for a newer, better product that has a number of enhancements, it may be difficult to know when to buy and how to stay informed.

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Here are a few tips to help you stay up-to-date on technology news and products: Get online – With an overwhelming amount of technology websites, blogs, and articles flooding the Internet, it’s almost unavoidable to run into a daily update on the latest technology features.  Make it a point to scan news stories and articles on a daily basis.  Even if just for a few minutes, it will provide you with a better understanding of what industry leaders are talking about. Social Media– You can also sign up for news alerts and follow like-minded technology businesses on their social media sites.  Twitter and Facebook are a great way to become informed in a short amount of time. Most leading technology companies will have a dedicated marketing team to post daily (sometimes more) updates on the latest breaking news and products. Customize an RSS Reader – RSS, or really simple syndication, is a way to read all of a website’s content in a simple format.  Most websites provide an RSS feed that you can access directly from your browser.  You can also download a desktop RSS client for your operating system (there are many free RSS applications available for both PC and Mac).  You can customize most RSS readers to organize your feeds by folder, which will help you keep track of large quantities of information. Subscribe to a newsletter– Most popular tech based websites offer a weekly or monthly newsletter about the recent technology trends. The option to subscribe is usually listed on their website homepage, and once you sign up, you will automatically receive emails in your inbox.  This option delivers the news to you without having to spend time searching online. Be Observant– An easy way to stay up-to-date is by simply noticing your surroundings.  If you notice that your mobile device is archaic compared to everyone around you, you know you are not up-to-date on the latest in cellular technology.  Watch what products and gadgets people are using, and ask about them. Up-to-date equipment and tools are especially important for the business owner.  Staying current with the latest technology will not only enhance overall productivity, it will likely demonstrate to employees that they are valued as well as lead to an increased sense of competence and productivity. Try spending a few moments thinking about what needs to be updated, replaced or introduced to bring your workplace up-to-date in its technology.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Small Business Technology?

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Small Business Technology?

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Nowadays, many small businesses are regularly looking for places to cut down on costs to reduce expenditure and increase profit. In a time of low economic growth, it is imperative for the success of any business to follow this simple concept. But in most cases, business owners will want to look to technology as the one area that smart investment could help boost the bottom line. It’s no surprise that technology can be a small business owner’s best friend. It can create a more efficient work atmosphere, help to find new clients, and save the business substantial money. From teleconference services and online payment services, to open-source software and remote desktop application, there are many ways to reduce business costs with technology. Fortunately, most IT industry leaders recognize the importance of this. In a recent poll published by the Society for Information Management, more than half (56 percent) of CIO’s and other IT leaders say their companies’ IT budgets will be higher than last year’s. With technology changing constantly, it’s likely the best in the business are staying on top of their IT needs – but are you? How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your business technology, and when it’s OK to hold onto old items? Here are some signs it might be time to upgrade. Your business is growing. If you find your employee base, production needs, and/or services are growing; it may be time for an upgrade. This could be as simple as installing a new printer or copy machine or adding more bandwidth for faster Internet connection. You’ve been adding technology haphazardly. Many small businesses have built a “duct-tape” system when it comes to their IT systems. Doing this results in a morass of different hardware brands, different software versions and even different operating systems within the same company. While this disjointed approach may work temporarily, eventually it will slow you down. Making an investment to upgrade to a uniform system is a wise choice that will pay off in the long run. You’re having continual problems. If your technology is causing you more headaches than effectiveness, it may be time to consider upgrading. If your system is crashing routinely or employees’ computers are too old to handle simple software updates, it is probably time to think about investing in new technology. If you find yourself agreeing with one or more of these warning signs but are still worried about the cost of buying new equipment, there are options to help you keep costs low. Leasing hardware can ensure you always have the latest version. It also frees up money for other purposes by spreading out payments. When most leases expire, you have the option to buy the equipment or upgrade to the newest version (with a new lease). You also may not need to buy brand new. Being a reseller of IT equipment, Fulcrum FxT sells and finances high quality new and used hardware while offering flexible financing options. We carry a large inventory of our own off-lease equipment and because we are well-capitalized, we have the buying power to purchase large quantities of sought-after new and used equipment at significant discounts. So if you think it may be time to bite the upgrading bullet, give us a call. Let us be your “IT Concierge” when you need to source the highest-quality IT equipment for the greatest value.

Our Loss is Your Gain

Our Loss is Your Gain

According to IDC, the US market for used commercial IT hardware is over $70Billion/yr. Many of the companies surveyed spend up to 15% of their IT hardware budget on used equipment. By using high-quality, previous generation hardware, you can save 50%-70% as compared to  buying new equipment. And for many use-cases, used equipment is a perfect fit. This saves money, and it allows you to redirect and invest that capital into more vital assets of your organization, such as your people, software applications and funding innovation.

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And via our flexible in-house lease financing, you can further preserve capital and better manage your cash-flow.

Plus all our equipment carries a 1yr FiXiT hardware warranty

By offering a blended solution of New and Used equipment, along with flexible finance options, we provide you the freedom to acquire IT infrastructure in the way that’s best for your business. Contact us today to see how Fulcrum FXT can help to optimize your current IT portfolios!

The 3 R’s of Retiring Old Technology Assets: Reuse, Resell or Recycle

The 3 R’s of Retiring Old Technology Assets: Reuse, Resell or Recycle

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You probably can remember the first computer you owned.  You might remember what it looked like or what brand it was.  But, can you reveal where that computer is now or what happened it to after it was replaced with a newer device? Despite what we hope, technology gadgets are not built to last.   They may become outdated and replaced by newer technology or just simply stop working and essentially turn into digital garbage.  At this point you may ask yourself, how do I safely get rid of it? There are three options when it comes to disposing your of old technology, reuse, resell or recycle. Reuse: There are many companies that will accept old computers and phones to fix and restore them.  Despite what you may think, someone else in need can probably use even the most obsolete of digital devices. Here at Fulcrum, we offer an IT Asset Recovery Service and can help your own off-lease IT assets.  If you have an older piece of equipment that needs replacement, we can help maximize its salvage value and monetize that asset. Use that cash or market value to acquire what you need today. Resell: You may also find that some of your old devices really aren’t that old.  This occurs the most with mobile devices, as most people choose to upgrade their cell phones before there is anything really wrong with their current device.  Most major wireless carriers will cut you a deal if you trade in your old handset when you go to purchase a new one. If you have outdated technology that you are looking to sell, let Fulcrum help! Fulcrum has in-house capabilities to erase sensitive data to NIST and DoD Standards. And we partner with a downstream ecosystem of E-recyclers and refiners that dispose of the equipment to the US EPA Responsible Recycling (R2) standards. We’ll assure you that your asset has been disposed of in an environmentally correct fashion…and we’ll put some cash back in your pocket in the process. You may also consider selling your gear on an online marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay; however, you will also be faced with more of a hassle, from creating and posting the ad to managing the offers, closing the deal, and shipping it. Recycle: And then there are times when your gear is too far-gone and nothing can be done to restore life back into again.  If you do not dispose properly of your junk, it could be potentially dangerous. Electronics are filled with “heavy metals” and carcinogenic chemicals that can pollute the air in which they are disposed with mercury and lead. The best option in this case is to properly recycle your superseded technology.   Fortunately, there are many companies that will mine your tech for you.  Earth911 for example, is an online directory that will find a recycler near you. Most major electronic manufacturers and retailers also offer some kind of trader-in or recycling program.   The only downside is that some may charge a nominal fee. Whatever state of condition your ancient gadgets might be in, there is always an option to safely and effectively retire your old equipment.  

Discover the Benefits of Refurbished Products

Discover the Benefits of Refurbished Products

Many people err more on the side of caution when it comes to purchasing refurbished IT equipment.  Will my used server be out-of-date? Can I still get upgrades? Will the machine breakdown in a few months? Are all of the parts in reliable working condition?

These are all valid questions and fortunately, can all be easily answered.  You want to ensure that you are making the smartest buy for your technology needs, and that is why we are here to help you through the process. What is refurbished equipment? The word refurbish commonly means, “to renew or to restore to a new condition and/or appearance.”  In a computer world, refurbished equipment is not necessarily defective in any way.  If an item is returned but appears to be in working order, or has a minor problem that can be easily fixed, the item will be refurbished and sold at a discounted price. Where does the refurbished equipment come from? A significant portion of our inventory is sourced from our in-house lease portfolio. In most cases, our systems have spent the previous 1-3 years deployed in a Tier 3-4 data center, and are returned as a result of a customer trade in or upgrade.  These servers are typically in excellent condition. Fulcrum also sources high-quality new and used IT equipment from other trusted sources including new-equipment resellers, exclusive vendor remarketers, and a reliable network of global supplier and third-party leasing partners. When is refurbished better? If your business is expanding but trying to preserve capital, it may not have the funds to purchase new equipment.  Investing in quality refurbished IT systems might be the perfect answer.  In many cases, small business applications don’t require the latest performance and refurbished equipment may offer the best value.  Also, you may find that a new, popular product is out of stock or has a long lead time.  There is a chance that same product is available in the remarketed pool due to a return or cancelled order. Why you can trust buying refurbished from us You can be confident that your equipment has been thoroughly audited and rigorously tested by our experienced technicians. And all of our systems can be configured with redundant components to minimize downtime.  Every system we sell carries a minimum one-year Next-Business Day advanced hardware replacement warranty. If it breaks, we’ll FiXiT. Much of our off-lease equipment carries residual OEM support as well. And we can also provide custom onsite support via our trusted third-party support partners.