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Former SpaceX Group Creates Efficient Supply Chain for Advanced Manufacturing

Feb. 17, 2022
Co-founders expect a new $5M seed round; collectively sourced $1B in highly specialized parts for manufacturers in aerospace, defense, automotive industries, and more.

Datum, a developer of supply chain solutions for advanced manufacturing, has launched operations, aiming to help manufacturers bring complex hardware and products to market faster by solving for inefficiencies in the supply chain. The company’s experts recognize and anticipate supply nuances across a range of advanced industries—aerospace, defense, automotive, medical devices, energy, motorsports, robotics, and more.

Datum was founded by a trio of former SpaceX supply chain experts, including CEO Robert Pakalski, COO Thomas Cobbs, and Chief Supply Chain Officer Ryan Nagle —after they faced numerous roadblocks trying to source parts at SpaceX. They concluded that the supply chain for advanced manufacturing is riddled with inefficiencies, and even today’s most cutting-edge technology companies are using antiquated methods for procuring parts and hardware.

“Datum has the knowledge, supply base, and operations necessary to source complex parts and hardware faster than any other procurement service provider on the market,” said Pakalski. “Rapid product development requires methodical supplier identification, secure communication, efficient quoting, and diligent project management—all of which are imperative for sustainable business operations. We see value in having an even more strategic, streamlined procurement process for the overall supply chain.”

While other industry players may have viable solutions for sourcing R&D or low-precision machined parts, Datum is built for those sourcing precision machined components. Datum launches with two core services:

  • Its proprietary software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform helps buyers of custom-machined computer numerical control (CNC) parts locate their optimal supplier.
  • A separate Managed Services division for firms to supplement or fully outsource, their procurement operations.

The SaaS platform has the capabilities to analyze a CAD file of a machined part and automatically match buyers with suppliers who have optimal equipment to machine a part. After identifying the best suppliers to manufacture a part, users can then execute secure file-transfer of confidential engineering files to supplier partners, administer request for quote (RFQ) packages, and down-select the best supplier option through a dashboard which helps determine the best proposal received.

Datum’s SaaS platform will soon expand beyond CNC machining and include all advanced manufacturing verticals.

In the platform, users can identify a supplier with optimal equipment, skillset, and commercial standing and can then communicate directly with the supplier to quote a specific part. Meanwhile, others serve as a "middle-man" and do not share with users at the specific machine shop manufacturing the part.