In fact, after in-depth understanding, it is not difficult to find that the development and application of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence is nothing more than some optimization of the existing supply chain. However, 3D printing is quite different. With its rapid development and large-scale adoption, the traditional supply chain model will embrace a subversive change!
Below, we will understand the impact of 3D printing on the traditional supply chain model from the three aspects of order management, manufacturing and logistics distribution:
3D printing improves order management
Supply chain activities are often carried out around order fulfillment, order accuracy will have a direct impact on enterprise operating costs and customer satisfaction. The large-scale adoption of 3D printing technology will completely change the traditional order collection mode and realize customization. For example, Shape, an Online 3D printing customization platform based in New York, has 50 industrial-grade 3D printers in its future factory. It collects customer requirements through social media such as Facebook, accepts 3D design proposals from customers, and can complete orders within days before sending them to customers.
3D printing improves manufacturing links
Traditional parts production mode not only requires the development of additional tools and molds, but also leads to a large amount of material waste and inventory accumulation. 3D printing can facilitate cost, quality and production cycle optimization, greatly simplifying the supply chain and quality control of complex components. Daimler, for example, has nearly 1,000 3D-printed auto parts, including 780 ordinary parts and 150 spare parts. Airbus has successfully 3D printed more than 1,000 cabin interiors for its A350 XWB aircraft.
3D printing improves logistics delivery link
In the distribution link of traditional product supply chain, as the manufacturing end is usually far away from the consumer end, it is necessary to build a central distribution center and regional distribution center for distribution, which not only costs a lot of investment, but also complicated daily operation. Because 3D printing can adopt the model of miniature factories, it is possible to arrange production around the place where products are consumed, minimizing the cost of long-distance transportation and shortening the length of the supply chain. For example, The US company Motors uses 3D printing technology to limit the production of vehicles to local micro factories, simplifying the logistics process and meeting local customers’ needs at low cost and high efficiency. The U.S. military is using 3D printers to quickly manufacture needed parts in a matter of hours. The traditional route of feeding demand to a supply station thousands of miles away and getting parts into a war zone can take days, if not longer.