3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is a procedure in which a printer reads a digital blueprint and builds a product according to a set of instructions. Some people are saying that 3D printing will drive the next industrial revolution. In the same way that the assembly line changed manufacturing in the past, 3D printing will change manufacturing in the future. The capabilities of 3D printing are evolving rapidly. It is ready to emerge from being a niche technology to being a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing.
As a manufacturer, you will be able to slash development time, eliminate tooling costs and simplify production runs. This will offer flexibility and agility to the market enabling customization and fast turnaround. The need for high-production facilities and low level assembly workers could disappear. 3D printing will allow businesses to be more innovative and deliver higher quality items. While slow-moving, highly-customizable products will see the true benefit of 3D printing, it is less likely to impact high-volume, low-margin products.
As a distributor, you may find yourself cut out of the supply chain. It will no longer be financially efficient to ship products across the globe when manufacturing can take place almost anywhere at the same cost. In order to stay in the product supply chain, you may need to find ways to offer 3D printing services at customer-facing locations.
The good news is that there is still time to adjust to this future business model. 3D printing is growing rapidly, but is still in its infancy. Over time, you can expect it will impact the entire supply chain of goods.
Scanco can help you stay ahead in the supply chain business with warehouse automation products that will make you more efficient and profitable. Contact us to optimize your supply chain business today.