Furkan Tunçel

02.09.2021 - 11:45

Thinking Like a Corporate Company and Working Like Startup: Arçelik 3D Printer Example

02.09.2021 - 11:45

It may not always be easy to act with an entrepreneurial spirit in a corporate and well-established company. In addition, entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance, and passion, you should also make an impact, find stakeholders, and convince stakeholders to the project. During the project of Arçelik 3D Printer, we were able to work just like a small business unit by using every aspect of entrepreneurship as a team in different processes at different times. 

After presenting a new product as an idea, it is necessary to find the right customer target and understand the market well. When we examined the market, we found out that 3D printers have been started to be used in the education sector because of the influence of STEM education. 3D printers have been started to being used in classroom environments since it has been observed that 3D printers allow them to physically experience conceptual subjects and ensure that children have a much better understanding of the subjects. In addition, STEM education has been spreading rapidly all over the world. Based on this fact, we have realised that a 3D printer is of great importance to prepare our children for the future. Our priority was to get to know our clients. The good part of keeping an entrepreneurial spirit alive in a corporate structure is that you can find institutions that are willing to cooperate with you wherever you go. So, we took advantage of this and take private schools into our center. We interviewed with the teachers and students in our target schools. We tried to understand their needs. The unofficial collaborations we have established allow us to act more flexibly and enabled us to get ideas instantly. After this, we managed to make product descriptions. We have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to create a platform with the device itself, software, filament which is printing raw material and content set, by creating physical and software products as well as content that enables the effective use of 3D printers. Thus, we have increased our product range from one to four.  

Developing a product is a challenging process in every aspect. The path from finding the idea to creating a prototype, from prototype to the product is complicated. Even if you decide on the general concept, you can get lost in the details. In this case, we had to produce four different products working in harmony with each other. At this point, we started to pursue cooperation opportunities for each product using our power of being a corporate company. We have spoken to device manufacturers, software companies, filament companies, and companies that produce educational content. We explained our vision. We started to work with domestic and foreign companies that understood our vision and wanted to support us. Since these works are being executed within a company like Arçelik that makes products for the end-user and has certain quality standards, the companies we cooperated with had to gain this perspective. We shared our internal processes to gain this perspective and we explained our standards. We tried to provide an environment where everyone would be happy with the resulted products. 

When our prototype products arrived as a result of our work, we again got back to the schools we were in cooperation with. We met separately with the teachers and students who are the users of the product and IT officers and principals who are the buyers and collected their feedback about our products and, then we entered a new development phase. We set out towards the final product to demonstrate the aspects that we need to develop and complete these improvements. 

Perhaps one of the most important point that is learned from the process of introducing a completely different product to the market is to put forward a product that is ready for its customer. While the corporate sales team that supported us within the organization became our internal customers, we went to the Turkish Ministry of National Education with their belief in the project and explained our project. Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of the tender and won the tender while the products were still in the prototype (development phase) and put forward a product whose customer is ready. The contribution of cooperating with Turkish Ministry of National Education was to convince our internal stakeholders of the project. Our processes got accelerated and we put forward the final product. 

Today, Arçelik 3D Printer operates in more than 150 schools in 81 provinces of Turkey. With the steps we have taken recently, we have started to reach the end-user and brought the gains of the students from 3D writing technology to the homes.   

Although 3D printers are mainly used for prototyping today, their use is becoming widespread in end products. As we are moving into digital life, where the industrial revolution is taking place, we need to integrate children who are our future into this change. 3D printers help children develop their perspectives, make sense of natural relationships between different expertise, and equip them with the needs of the digital age through the STEM approach. It increases our children's ability to observe, helps them to establish a cause-and-effect relationship and, accelerates their productivity. It gives them the ability to think in a multidimensional way while increasing their creativity. In education, it provides permanent and active learning.  Due to the low market awareness of these benefits, we aimed to increase awareness by the device we have produced for the schools. Then we aimed to reach the end-user using this awareness. We continue to work towards these goals. As a team, we are following the contribution of the platform we have created by getting out of our comfort zone with an entrepreneurial spirit, to our children, with excitement. 

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