3D Printing and Supply Chains of the Future

Title3D Printing and Supply Chains of the Future
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMohr, S, Khan, O
EditorKersten, W, Blecker, T, Ringle, CM
Title of ProceedingsInnovations and Strategies for Logistics and Supply Chains
Conference LocationHamburg
ISBN Number978-3-7375-7805-9
Other NumbersISSN (print) 2365-4430, ISSN (online) 2365-5070
Keywords3D Printing, Industry Study, Supply Chain Risk Management, Technology Impact

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.