In many ways, the supply chain has always existed as a fluid, evolving system. It has a long history, and is also a necessary component of our modern economy. Although it’s easy for a supply chain manager to become accustomed to the nuances of the current supply chain, it’s wise not to get comfortable — there are plenty of major disruptions ahead.
5. 3D Printing
It wasn’t long ago when the current generation of 3D printers was seen as nothing more than niche products. The small size of the hardware, coupled with low quantities of raw materials, relegated these devices to custom products and small production runs.
But times are changing. GE already has a plan to 3D-print 40,000 jet fuel nozzles by 2020. They’re so confident in the future of 3D printing that they’ve invested $1 billion into the technology in 2016 alone — and they’re planning to invest another $1 billion over the next few years.
Other brands — from nearly every industry imaginable — are also exploring 3D printing. UPS is in the midst of launching more than 60 facilities across the U.S. to fulfill a new parts-on-demand printing service.