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3D Printing and Supply Chains of the Future

Sebastian Mohr and Omera Khan

A chapter in Innovations and Strategies for Logistics and Supply Chains: Technologies, Business Models and Risk Management, 2015, pp 147-174 from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute of Business Logistics and General Management

Abstract: When discussing emerging supply chain trends of this decade 3D printing (3DP) has become one of the most disruptive phenomena to impact supply chains and the global logistics industry. The technology has already made a notable impact in the manufacturing sector and is now starting to enter homes and schools as well. However, while the expansion of 3DP into the private consumer sector is an interesting development in its own right, the biggest potential for disruption clearly lies in the industrial applications and how they will influence supply chains in the next decade. This study reveals that various points of the supply chain are likely to be impacted by 3DP. Among the findings are such examples as the implications for inventory and logistics, its contribution to mass customization and portable manufacturing, the relevance for digital supply chains and other supply chain trends such as cloud manufacturing. Thus this study highlights a key trend that will significantly shape and influence the next decade for logistics and supply chain. This study utilizes primary and secondary data. First, the extensive amount of literature that is available for supply chains and 3DP alike is analyzed. Then, connections between the technology characteristics and current supply chain trends are drawn, uncovering potential impact areas. Secondly, in-depth interviews are conducted with supply chain managers from different industries to gain first hand insights about the current impacts of 3DP. The analysis examines both opportunities and risks emerging from this technology.

Keywords: 3D Printing; Supply Chain Risk Management; Technology Impact; Industry Study (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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