One more product of 3D printing: supply chain disruption

Industrial-grade 3D printing moves production closer to the point of use, changing relationships among suppliers, customers and service providers.

History could repeat itself as 3D printing is poised to disrupt the supply chain much like email changed the way people communicate.

In the 1990s, people scoffed that email would replace sending letters through the U.S. Postal Service. Today, billions of emails travel the world every day as USPS struggles with lost revenue from first-class mail.

The degree to which supply chains could be impacted by 3D printing is only an educated guess at this point as the technology matures and companies come to understand how to make the best use of it. Industrial-grade 3D printing moves production closer to the point of use, changing relationships among suppliers, customers and service providers like transportation carriers.

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