Jul.6, 2013

While 3D printing is still in its infancy, it has the potential to change how and where manufacturing takes place. Instead of mass production, 3D printing emphasises customisation. A proportion of goods which were previously produced in China or other Asia markets may eventually be produced locally, and this would reduce transportation costs, as well as storage, handling and distribution costs.

Jones Lang LaSalle EMEA Research made an infographic to show the impact of 3D printing on supply chains.

Whilst modest at present, 3D printing has the potential to transform certain parts of manufacturing, and supply chains, over the longer term.

In addition, instead of taking place in bespoke factories, 3D printing will create demand for smaller and more standard premises, opening up opportunities for developers and investors.


A traditional supply chain:

  • Products are mass produced (e,g. in China)
  • Manufactured goods are 'pushed out' and distributed through warehouse network to customers
  • Long lead time
  • High transport costs
  • Large carbon footprint

A 3D printing supply chain:

  • Customised production
  • 'Pulled' by end customer demand
  • Locally printed and distributed
  • Short lead time
  • Low transport costs
  • Low carbon footprint



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Christopher Scott wrote at 6/24/2015 1:55:51 AM:

Kyle, everyone in your generation should be nervous. The inevitability of 3D printing to displace many traditional manufacturing processes is one part of the larger disruption within the entire supply chain, from raw material to retail consumer sales. The mass disruption will form the bases of a world which is hard to conceive. From the wide difference in commentary here I realize that it is impossible for any single individual to keep track of the exponential growth in technologies across all industries. I have spent 3 years attempting to track them but I can’t know it all. Knowing it all is not as important as knowing what will have the biggest impact on the future of business and society. To this end I would strongly recommend you read “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. It is within the first three chapters that the authors define five areas of exponential growth; Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, 3D Printing, Robotics, and Sensors. I found their insights provided me with a clear focus and excitement for the future of my own endeavors and ambitions. Perhaps you will find the same. You can also find me on linkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=6960673

Daniel Eschel wrote at 7/10/2013 4:10:40 PM:

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Sam wrote at 7/9/2013 4:52:43 PM:

Since traditional factories spend thousands making the mold for many plastic injection items, they are designed to produce thousands of items. A 3D printer has the advantage in that it doesn't need a mold and only needs to print what is demanded (not in masses). This way, waste is reduced and we create only what we need. It's true that printing a single piece from a 3D printer is more expensive than traditional manufacturing techniques, but if you only need a limited amount of pieces, 3D printers are the way to go!

jd90 wrote at 7/7/2013 4:10:37 AM:

That seems a bit dishonest, because it ignores the materials involved. I wonder if there's even a net difference, especially when most of the machine components come from China, and a lot of the 3D printing material might come from there as well.

Kyle Ephraim wrote at 7/7/2013 2:02:13 AM:

Very interesting article! As a student at the University at Buffalo working on a Business Admin degree with a concentration in Supply Chain and Operations Management, as well as a minor in Environmental Studies, I am very intrigued by the concept of 3D printing as a way to help supply chains become more green. As a student I wonder, though -- how do you feel this technology will impact the Supply Chain / Logistics *occupation*? Seems like there is the potential for some significant changes in the future. I'm excited, but a little nervous! Kyle Ephraim

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