The process of converting information into a digital format sounds innocuous, but digitization has produced sweeping changes across the business landscape. Indeed, digital transformation is affecting every area of the business, and the supply chain is no exception.
“If, before you [could] manufacture a certain widget, you needed capital-intensive manufacturing capabilities, that’s one kind of supply chain,” Meyer said. “If, now, all I have to do to deliver those same capabilities is put a chip inside some inexpensive components, I’ve moved into a digital electronic assembly world — and that’s a completely different supply chain.”
An example of this effect can be found in the deployment of additive manufacturing, or what’s commonly known as 3D printing. Bain’s Gerstenhaber said using 3D printing in manufacturing can be far more complex than it might seem. Product design, the tools you use and manufacturing layouts for 3D printing can be quite different than in traditional manufacturing.