Thirty-five thousand, one hundred and twelve 3D printed face shields and ear savers later, my co-founder Chi Jie and I look back on the past few months with gratitude. We run a 3D printing start-up, Siege Advanced Manufacturing. Our usual 3D printing projects got severely disrupted, but:
Thank you for forcing us to adapt quickly to the fast-changing situation, and to learn to execute decisions rapidly. You not only cut off demand for 3D printing projects, but also wreaked havoc on our supply chain due to the global lockdowns. Thanks to you, we had no choice but to learn to act swiftly and find alternative supplies fast. We now work closer with and are more aware of local suppliers.
Thank you for giving us the chance to contribute on a larger scale to society. You reduced our demand drastically, but with our 3D printers idling, we had the spare capacity to 3D print Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for donations locally and internationally. The global pandemic led to a wealth of 3D printing ideas online for COVID-19. With that, we manufactured items we didn’t think we were capable of before.
Thank you for letting us see the positive in society. You were so bad that it brought out the good in people. We worked with many organisations to donate face shields and ear savers. Through that, we saw countless generous individuals who donated, and helpful organisations that facilitated our donations to Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, even when international borders were closed. Beneficiaries who themselves were working hard to help the community. Everyone was fighting the same enemy.
Thank you for pushing us to our limits. It was probably the hardest we had ever worked. Chi Jie stayed overnight in our office for 3 whole months, not even going home to sleep, just to keep up with the production for the PPE. We now know how much more we are able to achieve with our current capacity.
Thank you for connecting us with our family and friends again. After learning about our donation initiatives, current friends showed their support, while long-lost friends dropped us a “Jiayou!”. Our families did their best to support us, making homecooked meals for us every day to dabao to office, and checking up on us frequently.
You have been the greatest challenge for our business, but also the most rewarding one. Of course it was tough and scary, we are after all only rather fresh graduates trying to grow a start-up when you hit us. But we have grown through this – and for that, we thank you.
Would we want you to come back though?