Material world: Upholding supply chain efficiencies with additive manufacturing

Within the supply chain itself, the efficiency-enhancing benefits of additive manufacturing can deliver many quantifiable advantages for supply chain managers.

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 companies several sectors. This 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.

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Current geo-political trends are very much in sync with AM — especially 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.

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