Sep.28, 2013

Mike McNamara, the IT chief of supermarket giant Tesco said 3D printing could soon come to supermarkets, allowing shoppers to order certain basic items and have them printed out on-demand.

As Chief Information Officer, Mike McNamara is responsible for all technology across the Tesco Group, providing strategic direction and management of the technology in the stores as well as behind the scenes in operations, customer websites and mobile platforms. At Tesco HQ teams of technology experts have been testing 3D printers to look at how it might change the way stores work.

"I think over the next few years you will see 3D printing in shops, because for the missing hose from the vacuum printer, you can print them in the time that someone enters the store, does a bit of shopping and leaves the store. So I can definitely see that being part of the retail offering in the none too distant future." said McNamara during an interview at the Oracle OpenWorld show this week.

"I think it will help Tesco as a company, I don't think it will be a bad thing," he said. "It'll be a great thing for customers, we'll have 3D printing in our stores. As retailers you'll always adapt. ... We'll adapt to 3D printing, we'll adapt to RFID. You live, you change."

McNamara thinks it might take a while before 3D printer to be widely adopted in the home, but 3D printing could actually help retailers increase footfall in stores, because it will 'give shoppers a new reason to visit shops for quick access to niche items.' Tesco is currently exploring ways to add 3D printing as an in-store service, according to the company's innovation ambassador Paul Wilkinson.

"Physical stores won't disappear." McNamara said. But retailers do need to focus more on new strategy, and what product and service local stores can provide to meet particular customers' needs in an age of customisation.


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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