Material World: Upholding supply chain efficiencies with additive manufacturing

“Current geo-political trends are very much in sync with AM, most particularly when talking about cross border trade and governments’ efforts to increase local manufacturing.”

Supply Chain Management

Most people have heard about 3D Printing and its industrial application: additive manufacturing (AM). The mainstream media has occasionally highlighted the technology’s more off-the-wall and outlandish applications but in the industrial world AM is impacting the manufacturing of companies in quite a few sectors. This, necessarily, affects those companies’ supply chain as well. Indeed, within the supply chain itself, the efficiency-enhancing benefits of AM can deliver many quantifiable advantages for supply chain managers. Each advantage, from simplifying processes, through reducing bottlenecks to ultimately decreasing costs is a column in and of itself, but here I’ll just give a taste of the technology’s timely relevance for supply chain managers.

Current geo-political trends are very much in sync with AM, most particularly when talking about cross border trade and governments’ efforts to increase local manufacturing. Physical parts held up in transit are a threat for just-in-time production and local manufacturers. Just recently, the CEO of automotive manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, Dr. Ralf Speth, raised this issue in the context of Brexit, the UK’s impending exit from the European Union.

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