The supply chain risks-rewards of 3D printing

Most everything that supply chain leaders and chief risk officers know about supply chain risk management today could soon become obsolete, thanks to rapid advances in 3D printing.

We’re already seeing signs of this in the construction industry: In March 2018, 3D printing construction company ICON, in partnership with non-profit group New Story, unveiled the first permitted, 3D-printed home in the United States in Texas with the commendable aim of creating affordable housing for all. Other 3D printing construction companies—like Apis Cor, Contour Crafting, and CyBe Construction—have developed similar technologies. And last year, Dubai-based Cazza Construction announced plans to build the world’s first 3D-printed skyscraper by 2020.

Although still in its infancy, 3D printing on a larger scale could drastically reduce the costs and risks intrinsically linked to globally complex supply chains. It’s not too soon for chief risk and compliance officers, as well as financial executives, across all industries to weigh the risks and rewards, like the following:

Affordable domestic production. By using 3D printing, companies can save both on labor costs, as well as the costs of transporting the materials. These cost savings alone greatly tip the scales toward the benefits of domestic, as opposed to overseas, production and cheaper labor abroad.

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