The United States is in a cold war with China. As companies rethink their supply chains, they ought to seriously consider embracing a new manufacturing technology that’s now ready for prime time: 3D printing.
No longer relegated to trinkets and prototyping, 3D printing, which is also called additive manufacturing, is now moving into mass production. Printer makers have solved a variety of quality, cost and speed problems to the point where printers can compete with conventional manufacturers at volumes of tens or even hundreds of thousands of units.
The US military has already been working on additive as a quicker way to supply repair parts to remote locations and to make ultralight, high-performance fighter jets. The Trump administration is looking to ramp up those efforts with tax breaks and direct subsidies to companies that bring military supply chains home.