|My Suggestion List... [message #78236] Tue, 05 November 2013 17:53 UTC
Okay, so having been working with models for a little while now, and running into a variety of frustrations (many of which I can see others have run into before me), I've had the opportunity to make various suggestions to the support staff via email. However, in one of my latest email exchanges, the support staffer suggested that I post my ideas here. So, here goes...|
I've seen in the rather epicly long thread that this is a frustration for a LOT of people. I have a few different thoughts here.
• Short Order Hold: If the designer can upload an appropriately modified version of the file to address the reasons for the rejection within some reasonable timeframe (something like 12 or 24 hours comes to mind), the order should be help until then. This would probably only be allowed once or possibly twice per part per order (i.e. if the same part was rejected again, it would not be held again). This would allow correction of issues, and help shop owners save face with customers. It would also allow for shop owners to contest a rejection based on printing history.
• Better analysis tools for part review staff: Right now it seems that the review staff eyeballs the parts looking for areas that are too thin, too long, etc. This can lead to rejection based on some tiny little areas that are actually highly supported from the way they are engineered. (A thin flat sheet is far more fragile than a thin walled egg, for example.) By putting some basic Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools in the hands of the reviewers, these tools would quickly highlight areas where the reviewers should look more closely and which areas can be safely ignored, regardless of whether or not they are close to or violate the design guidelines.
• Preprint Evaluation: Offer a service where, for a small fee, models can be evaluated as if they are going to be printed, without needing to be printed. This way, shop owners can get models or changes to models pre-approved, and won't need to worry about a model being rejected when purchased by a customer. This service would depend on the proper functioning of a flag for the models to by-pass the review process if they've been pre-approved or previously printed.
Here's another topic that I know a lot of people aren't completely satisfied with. I've been frustrated because I find the $6.50 rate quite high, especially when ordering a part that costs $3.00. So, here are my thoughts...
• More Options: The recent addition of options other than UPS Ground is nice, but these are again quite spendy. I'd like to see some other options like USPS Priority Mail (which, in my experience, is one of the best bang-for-the buck shipping options out there). If I was living closer to Shapeways location, I wouldn't have any issue with UPS Ground. Being halfway across the country from them, I've seen UPS Ground take a week and a half to deliver, where I know USPS would deliver in four days.
• Merge Orders for Shipping: If I have an order already placed and being processed, I would like to be able to place another order and have the option to have the two orders ship together, which would automatically have the shipping date for the earlier order bump out to the shipping date for the second order. Again, with something like this, there would need to be some reasonable restrictions put on it.
• Free Shipping Service: Think of Amazon Prime. I would actually be more likely to order a lot more models if shipping cost wasn't an issue. So, if I could pay an upfront cost to get free shipping for a year on all models that I order, I would do it in a heartbeat (assuming the upfront cost wasn't exorbitant).
A few thoughts on order handling that either compliment or go beyond things I've already mentioned...
• Order Editing: Adding to and subtracting from orders. This would be big. If, within a reasonable timeframe after the initial order is placed (say a day or two?), I could add additional models, change quantities, remove models, etc., this would help out a lot.
• Order Splitting: I mentioned merging orders for shipping purposes before, but splitting orders is also a desirable thing, sometimes. I've had some of my orders sit with most of the models showing "DONE!" while one model is still "PROCESSING". In cases like this, it would be nice to be able to go in and say "Ship what's done now, ship what's left when it gets done, charge me for the extra shipping".
• Order Hold: If, as a designer, I realize that I have an error in one of my models that will result in it getting rejected, it would be nice to place a hold on the order in order to allow me to fix my own mistake before it gets rejected.
• Allow Sales to be Store Credit: A much requested item. If I have sold a model, I'd like to be able to use the profit from that to buy more models for myself. Sometimes, not always, naturally. But, a method by which I could transfer money (I would want to be able to specify the amount, naturally that is scheduled to go out as a payment into being store credit would be highly beneficial.
• Customer Communications: There simply has to be a direct communication channel set up between a customer and a shop owner. If someone has bought something from me, I need to be able to communicate with them. It can be an internal communication system, revealing no contact information outside of Shapeways, but the communication channel has to be put in place.
• Allow for Loss-Leaders: There are some times when there are parts that are accessories to other parts, and I want to be able to sell those parts for LESS than the Shapeways production cost. I'm willing to pay for that difference, because I'll make it back on the "core" part.
• Allow for Kits: Sometimes it would be nice to have several parts produced in different materials, but be sold together as a kit.
That's all for now. I'll post more as I think of them.
[Updated on: Wed, 06 November 2013 16:39 UTC]
|Re: My Suggestion List... [message #78338 is a reply to message #78236 ] Wed, 06 November 2013 16:37 UTC
• Hold All for Approval: When placing an order with half a dozen models in it, it can be annoying when one gets rejected and the rest proceed to production, preventing canceling the order to allow the problem with the one to be fixed. If a set of models is intended to be ordered as, well, a set, it would be nice to be able to flag the order such that no model will go to production until all of them have been reviewed and approved. If one gets rejected, that would suspend the order and give the customer the opportunity to either cancel the entire order, fix the problem with the rejected part, or allow the order to go through with the one piece removed.
I do realize that many of my suggestions are different ways of handling the same problems, but, even so, I think that they compliment each other and offer options for SW to implement the easiest solution first...
|Re: My Suggestion List... [message #78499 is a reply to message #78338 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 16:14 UTC
Finish a Review: I can tell you, there is nothing that is as frustrating as printing a part and having the model rejected for problem A, fixing the model then having problem B found. If problem A and problem B both exist on a model, reviewers should make every effort to find them both when reviewing a model. The goal shouldn't be "find a reason to reject this model", it should be "find as much as possible that needs to be improved to make this model printable". Of course, there will be models that will have a second problem that will be missed in the first inspection, but when an obvious problem is missed the first time, only to have the model rejected a second time, it is quite frustrating. (Granted that the process of creating a printable model is up to the designer, but it's helpful for the review staff to think of themselves as being on a team with the designers trying to help them get their projects printed, not as adversaries to the designers looking for reasons to reject the designers' work.)
Printability Flag: This is an often discussed topic. In reading some of the discussion of how printability flags can be / are treated when a new version of the model is uploaded, I had some thoughts and I wanted to share them. If there are printability flags right now, as I understand it, they are reset the moment that a new version of the model is uploaded. This fails to take into account that the new version is, in theory, an improvement over the old version. If, instead of being reset, the flag was changed to being a "Formerly Printable" flag, this could help reviewers to consider the fact that the previous version of the model was printed when they are reviewing the current model. I happen to know that previous versions of models are stored in the SW system, so the reviewer could even pull up the old and the new and look for differences, looking only for those differences that would degrade the printability of the model. In practice, this should reduce the amount of time that reviewers have to spend on tasks such as this, an issue that SW openly acknowledges.