Most companies are still only at an early stage on their journey towards a true digital supply chain transformation. That’s partly due to history, because companies have traditionally sold products and services through linear value chains as well as an antiquated IT infrastructure making even relatively simple digital initiatives a big challenge.
However, as digital ecosystems consisting of market networks enable hybrid forms of cooperation and competition with shared data in the cloud, it is no longer an option to not be digital. One important challenge is identifying the right supply chain use cases that will provide a competitive advantage and can be addressed utilizing a digital-based solution. There are three key digital supply chain trends having significant positive impacts on clients: lights-out planning, blockchain and 3D printing.
Jabil is creating a digital network to manufacture 3D printed parts
Over the years, Jabil, the manufacturing solutions provider and one of HP’s partners in the production of 3D printers, has been recognized as a supply chain innovator by the likes of Gartner. Today, it is in the process of creating what Jabil and John Dulchinos, the vice president of digital manufacturing, calls a digital supply chain.
As Dulchinos explains, that is one in which networks of digital printers are distributed to locations around the world, such as Singapore, where Jabil manufacturers HP’s 3D printers, while the design and process work is centralized in Silicon Valley. “We’re building production files in San Jose, and sending them to Singapore where we’re manufacturing them on 3D printers and then assembling the final product,” Dulchinos says.
One of the many advantages of additive manufacturing is its ability to produce a diverse range of components. With this in mind, Pete Basiliere, Research Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at the U.S. research and advisory firm Gartnerdelved into the potential for a business contingency plan based on 3D printing and its digital capabilities.
Natural disasters and manufacturing operations
3D printing technology for disaster relief is already an active area of research. For example, the 3D printed delivery drones created for humanitarian aid, yet, according to Basiliere, little is done for the recovery of an organization’s manufacturing operations when the elements are against them.
We are in the early days of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. The digital transformation, valued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to be US$100 trillion globally over the next 10 years, is changing the ways we design, produce and distribute goods.
3D printing is helping to transform the manufacturing process – moving it closer to consumption, lowering its costs and improving quality.
The impact of these changes will be acutely felt in Asia Pacific (APAC). This region already accounts for half of all global manufacturing – a US$12 trillion opportunity – and it continues to evolve and grow.
Oracle’s Supply Chain expert, Dominic Regan, discusses the impact 3D printing is having on the supply chain and how the multinational database giant is supporting the dynamic additive manufacturing market by helping to increase business agility, lower costs, and reduce IT complexity
Oracle is best known for its database services, offered to business since the company started over 40 years ago. This technology background was the platform to expand into applications in the ERP space and several other disciplines including supply chain.
Oracle supports the classic approach to designing products, planning and forecasting supply and demand, focusing on procurement and the sourcing of products in the manufacturing space then providing the logistics of fulfilment via transport and global trade warehouse management before closing that cycle with service, so once a product has been delivered it can manage the repair and maintenance process.
3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing, is changing the way things are made; and not just on a small scale or prototyping sense, but changing the way global scale production gets done.
Gartner believes that in 2018, 3D printing will accelerate new business model innovation. Here are some of the 3D printing predictions by Gartner:
- By 2021, 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe and other components.
- By 2021, 25 percent of surgeons will practice on 3D-printed models of the patient prior to surgery.
- By 2021, 20 percent of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will use 3D printing to create custom products.
- By 2021, 20 percent of enterprises will establish internal startups to develop new 3D print-based products and services.
- By 2021, 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish 3D printing centers of excellence (COE). “The long-term goal of a 3DP COE is to become a seamless part of the design and manufacturing process. When successful, the COE has broad implications on use of 3DP in the design, manufacturing and maintenance of products,” – Gartner
Customers worldwide ramping up 3D printing installations;
More than 3 million Multi Jet Fusion parts produced in last year alone;
Breakthrough program to digitally reinvent HP product lifecycle
- Industry-wide acceleration of 3D printing for production of end-use parts and large-scale prototyping
- Forecast 3D, GoProto, Stern, and more increasing Multi Jet Fusion capacity to meet rising demand
- Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program leverages 3D across HP’s product lifecycle
ST. LOUIS, April 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at the world’s largest 3D printing user event, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, HP Inc. showcased new large-scale customer deployments and its own Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program as the industry accelerates its journey to full-scale 3D production. According to Wohlers Report 2018, the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use-case and the demand for production-grade parts is expected to continue to grow exponentially. As the market leader, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world, HP is delivering both unprecedented capabilities and economic advantages to its manufacturing customers, and also embracing its own technology to transform the design, production, and distribution of HP products worldwide.
The promise of 3D printing has been in the background of manufacturing conversations for years. This technology’s potential to let companies create items on demand, with minimal factory equipment and an extreme degree of customization, has kept it relevant as the necessary hardware and software have improved. The fact that there hasn’t yet been a massive supply chain disruption due to 3D printing may be leading some companies to write it off. Leaders should keep their eyes open, however – further development could change the geography of manufacturing.
The use of 3D printing as a prototyping system, a behind-the-scenes option for product development, has kept it in the manufacturing ecosystem. Learning to produce finished goods with the same speed and ease currently used for in-development items could be the turning point for 3D printing’s impact and ubiquity.
Examining the marketplace
Current supply chain practices such as producing a high volume of goods in financially efficient factories and shipping them en masse may become less useful in the era of widespread 3D printing. The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently examined both the transformative potential of 3D printing and the reasons why the technology hasn’t yet had such an impact, despite being known and available for years.
In a new case study, global 3D printing leader Stratasys, which will soon introduce its new metal 3D printer, has explained how a top French pharmaceutical company was able to achieve a full return on investment (ROI) within just one year of purchasing and installing one of its production FDM 3D printers.
Bristol-Myers Squibb subsidiary UPSA determined that additive manufacturing would be a good way to attract new technicians, along with putting some life back into its in-house workshop. The company also realized that 3D printing would be able to help it find innovative solutions to production-line challenges, which were limiting the amount of machine parts it could make with traditional methods of manufacturing.
Most everything that supply chain leaders and chief risk officers know about supply chain risk management today could soon become obsolete, thanks to rapid advances in 3D printing.
We’re already seeing signs of this in the construction industry: In March 2018, 3D printing construction company ICON, in partnership with non-profit group New Story, unveiled the first permitted, 3D-printed home in the United States in Texas with the commendable aim of creating affordable housing for all. Other 3D printing construction companies—like Apis Cor, Contour Crafting, and CyBe Construction—have developed similar technologies. And last year, Dubai-based Cazza Construction announced plans to build the world’s first 3D-printed skyscraper by 2020.
Although still in its infancy, 3D printing on a larger scale could drastically reduce the costs and risks intrinsically linked to globally complex supply chains. It’s not too soon for chief risk and compliance officers, as well as financial executives, across all industries to weigh the risks and rewards, like the following:
Affordable domestic production. By using 3D printing, companies can save both on labor costs, as well as the costs of transporting the materials. These cost savings alone greatly tip the scales toward the benefits of domestic, as opposed to overseas, production and cheaper labor abroad.