Glide’s master plan

Glide is on a mission to improve people's lives in the mass personalisation industry.

I am sharing our plan with you so you can understand where we're going and why.

The problem: Fulfilling orders for custom products is hard

Why? Because you must do so much work after the customer orders.

Normal pick-and-pack operations are easier to manage, which is where most businesses have operated.

Let me illustrate using a simple example.

If you sell standard t-shirts, you buy stock. When someone orders, you put it into a box and send it. Pretty simple.

However, the process gets more complicated if you want to add personalisation to that t-shirt.

Now you need to buy stock of the t-shirts, ink, printer consumables, etc.

When a customer orders their custom t-shirt, you may need to edit the customer's artwork or ask for a different file. Then, you need to prepare & send proof for approval.

Following a revision or two, you get approval.

Now you need to load that t-shirt into a printer, print on it (if using a DTG printer), and quality control it by comparing the product to the proof.

Finally, you pack & ship that t-shirt to the customer.

Oh, and margins are small, so no mistakes are allowed, and you need to do all of this within a day or two of the customer placing that order.

If not, they'll be chasing for updates, which means more emails to reply to.

The image below shows the difference between a simple pick-and-pack fulfilment versus a custom order fulfilment.

An infographic comparing standard product order fulfilment to custom product order fulfilment

With the rise of mass personalisation, adding uniqueness to products is becoming increasingly popular.

Because customising products is now a big business, printer manufacturers have developed many ways to put ink on products to personalise items.

Which is great! And some of these machines are incredible.

However, no one does a good job connecting all the dots and making a whole system that is as excellent.

Currently, the operations before & after those machines are poor.

This pushes companies to spend tens of thousands of £/$/€ on developing systems. This requires time and energy to create. All of which is hard. And we need to include maintaining a system.

The solution: The world's first Intelligent Fulfilment Platform

We want to bring the whole mass personalisation world into Industry 4.0 and make the world's first Intelligent Fulfilment Platform for custom businesses.

Essentially, we're building the machine to house the mass-personalisation machines.

What is Industry 4.0?

McKinsey & Company says Industry 4.0 is "The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector, driven by disruptive trends, including the rise of data and connectivity, analytics, human-machine interaction, and improvements in robotics."

Our mission is to improve the lives of the millions of people who work in mass-personalisation businesses by giving you all the tools & knowledge to genuinely automate mundane tasks and take your whole operation to a totally new level of efficiency.

This is a big task and will ultimately require both software & hardware.

To get super smart (think Industry 4.0), we need sensors and cameras working with the manufacturing machines that give feedback to the core Glide system to keep the feedback loop open and constantly updating.

We also need robots to help pinch points in the manufacturing system.

We need to value engineer all of this so it's affordable for everyone.

We want to help tiny print shops that operate out of their homes to global corporations.

The 4-step plan

Step 1: To release the core Glide platform

Glide is a software product that runs in the cloud, is low cost, and can help businesses create quotes and orders, send proofs, semi-automate manufacturing, quality control and shipping.

Step 2: Comprehensive manufacturing suite

Tru-shape nesting and communication with all machines to make manufacturing simpler than ever. Comprehensive management and automated scheduling. All whilst making it simple to use.

Step 3: Introduce hardware to open the feedback loop

We not only need Glide to speak to the machines, but the machines need to speak back to Glide. This will make manufacturing truly smart, automated and self-learning.

Some machines have APIs so that they can do this, in part. However, we need to make this universal, so we will release a range of hardware & software to suit various machine types.

Step 4: Add automation and robotics

Robotics is where we massively free up your manufacturing team to work on creative, growth & other tasks. It also fundamentally changes the economics of businesses by reducing overheads dramatically. Imagine being able to run 24-7 without employing more people! Pretty cool, eh?

These 4 steps should happen over the next few years as we reinvest revenue into engineering software & hardware solutions from the early stages.

Our guiding principles

We have a few principles we use to guide our work. Here they are:

Make stuff a joy to use

A guiding principle of joy ensures we constantly push to make the Glide simpler & more straightforward to use while making it genuinely helpful.

Simplicity at the detriment of deep functionality is no help and equals less joy.

Remove the mundane

Automation is at the heart of what we do to help remove the boring, repetitive tasks.

No one wants to do the same s**t every day, so we say automate it!

Tools should help people, not hinder them

Too many systems and tools are painful to use, and the people who have to use them complain. A tool should help people do their jobs better with more satisfaction.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

We borrowed this from Steve Jobs at Apple, but it's true!If a concept is still complicated, it needs more refining while solving the original problem.

In summary

I hope sharing our master plan helps you to see where we're heading.

If you personalise any product, from a sticker to a phone case, boxes, t-shirts or mobile bars, Glide is here to help you build a better business that grows faster, allows your people to enjoy their jobs more, and increases profitability.

Thanks for reading.

p.s. please don't share this with our competitors.

Latest from Glide