How 3D-Printing Impacts Supply Chain Industry

Among the industries the disruptive 3D-printing technology is impacting is the supply chain industry.

According to an article published by the University of San Francisco in 2015 entitled, “3D Printing and Its Impact on the Supply Chain,” there are a number of other ways that 3D printers may alter the supply chain including substantially reducing manufacturing lead times; shorter time-to-market f new designs; customer demand will be met more quickly; and logistics will adjust to print-on-demand, eliminating the need to carry inventory. – Read more:


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Here are a few more ways 3D printers could alter the supply chain:

  • Manufacturing lead times will be substantially reduced (think minutes, not days).
  • New designs will have a shorter time to market.
  • Customer demand will be met more quickly.
  • Materials will be used more efficiently, as leftover substrate powder can be repurposed for the next project.
  • Logistics will adjust to print-on-demand, eliminating the need to carry inventory.

- Read more:

It looks like the casualty will be factory jobs, as the first article mentioned above said When you can create very complex items that used to be made on an assembly line, you eliminate the need for high volume production—as well as the workers employed at the factory.

With that, one 3D-printing company – 3D Hubs – envisions a trend that will be catching up in the next few years, according to a report.

In the next decade, the whole business dynamic that makes it a good idea for a lot of U.S. companies to manufacture overseas will go poof. […] Instead, companies are going to custom-make most things in small factories right in your neighborhood or town, close enough so you could go pick up your stuff, or maybe have it dropped onto your porch by a drone. Factories will essentially get broken up, scattered and made local. As 3D Hubs co-founder Bram de Zwart puts it, “Why would you put a thousand machines in one place when you can put one machine in a thousand places?” – Read more:

While the advances and benefits of 3D-printing are being raved all over, it is also hoped that human workers will not be so greatly displaced by 3D-printers. For sure, newer technologies and innovations will find the need for human labor, and compensate for whatever loss of emplyment may ensue.






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