Supply Chain Digital: 3D Printing: The end of the globalised supply chain?
Supply Chains are governed by technology, which dictates the way we manufacture and distribute goods. This new technology, however, may completely remove the market for a globalised supply chain.
The modern supply chain is all about globalisation. Shipping lines, freight forwarders and airlines depend on moving vast quantities of consumer goods on a daily basis, providing Western markets with items manufactured in the Far East.
According to industry experts, however, this could all be about to change. A potential threat to the logistics industry, 3D Printing has the ability to revolutionise production techniques, allowing the use of more automation and thus saving on cost.
Originally developed as an automated method to produce prototypes, 3D Printing builds up layers of material (plastics, ceramics or metal powders) using a computer-aided design to create a three-dimensional product. Able to manufacture items with minimal human assistance, a large number of 3D printers could be a cost-effective way to produce any small product or part without a large workforce -meaning the manufacturer is able to move production closer to the end user at a low cost.
In a White Paper recently released by the industry site Transport Intelligence, John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transport Intelligence and Ken Lyon, CEO of Virtual Partners has created a projection of a potential future with 3D Printers at the centre, looking at how the logistics industry may be sidelined and how it could adapt to sit alongside this new technology. ...