3D Printing technology is the most amazing disruptors to Production. After 30 years in development, practical applications of 3D printing are disrupting traditional businesses. Supply chains across industries like Aerospace, Medicine and Healthcare, and Electronics are devising solutions to take advantage of the market opportunities. One of the key insights of the Global Manufacturing Industry is that, regardless of the location, companies are running towards 3D Printing to strengthen supply chain, become more agile, and create innovative product development and manufacturing strategies. This technology has the power to help companies reduce their costs significantly, overcome the boundary risks, improve customer service, and drive edge in the competition.
The effect that 3D printing can have on your supply chain depends on the industry. A large business that owns the most supply chain process can cut steps with 3D manufacturing. This can save the money of the supply chain and time, and as 3D printing becomes more common and low cost, this technology is bound to impact on the supply chain sooner. This technology can also assume the role of Supplier and Manufacturer. While the supplier is removed from the chain, outsourcing the 3D printing to third party can help the business in 3 ways.
- Cut the supplier, save the money
- 3D printing for parts made of nearly any material, for accuracy
- Efficiency in outsourcing of operations
There are 5 ways, 3D Printing will have massive impact on the Supply chain
- Decentralize Production: The nature of 3D printing technology will enable the businesses to take the production to local markets and customers faster. Companies will be able to produce the products in-house rather than depending on the import. Especially during the times of geo-political tension, when the cost of the components can increase drastically. Also, with the supply chain barriers in COVID, it is easier to manufacture the components home rather than waiting and stopping the operations.
- Product Customization: 3D Printing depends on the designing skills of the product designer and the best 3D Printer and no other tools. It practically gives the freedom to customize the product according to the client specific measurements and requirements and helps enhance the user experience. This would result in agile supply chains that can adapt to any market situation the business is going through. With this emerging technology, we can see that the design, production and distribution merge to a single supply chain function with the involvement of client in the entire design and production process.
- Reducing Complexity and faster movement of Products to market: 3D Printing technology reduces the number of components and processes that are required for manufacturing. It will have a great impact on the supply chain, reduce complexities, save expenses on production, enhance the lead time and improves the time-to-market.
- Resource Efficiency: 3D Printing enhance the efficiency of resource utilization, making it environmental-friendly. It is a cost-efficient method, almost zero-waste, reduces the risk of over-production, excess inventory and lowers carbon foot-print.
- Inventory and Logistic management: With on-demand production in place, the transport of physical goods across the boundaries is bound to reduce. This will have a major impact on warehousing and logistics.
Let’s take a case study
NexGen 3D is working with a pioneer in Automobile Industry. While creating the spare parts, in the traditional method of supply chain, the company is supposed to wait for the entire shipment of spares, so that it could complete a delivery.
But with NexGen 3D, we are helping them make the required number of spares in the size and design mentioned in the specifications. Without additional delay, the company can move forward in its supply chain.
3D Printing and Manufacturing represents a major opportunity for businesses to fulfil their supply chain, so as to drive a competitive edge in the marketplace. With the predicted market size of USD 41 billion, it is that opportunity that one cannot oversee.
This technology is revolutionizing and it might impact your business sooner than you think. The best is to prepare the supply chain sooner, with the following questions.
- What areas in my Supply Chain and Operations are impacted by 3D Printing?
- How to take advantage of the Technology?
- What should the Supply chain and logistics operations transformation look like?