3-D printing technology, which allows on-demand production of various components for manufacturing at the location itself, can improve productivity by eliminating the need for any transportation, thus reducing the cost and lead times significantly.
Managing inventory effectively and maximizing warehouse productivity rank on top of the priority list of almost all warehouse managers, according to Procurious.com.
Kevin Hill of Quality Scales Unlimited offers some tips on how to improve warehouse management.
Apply Cross-Docking to Maximize Space
The objective of cross-docking is to reduce the shelf storage time of stocks in the warehouse. It helps in transporting warehouse delivered goods quickly to the outbound carriers that can take the stocks to distribution centers. Make sure that the warehouse layout supports cross-docking.
Even though 3D printing has been around for a while, it has struggled to move past its reputation as a high-priced toy for techies.
UPS, along with partners SAP and Fast Radius, a Georgia-based manufacturer, have launched an effort to bring 3D printing full steam into the world of scaled industrial production.
Instead of producing a single trinket or a custom iPhone case on a per-unit basis, the partners have teamed up to print everything from auto parts to medical devices. All of this is done at scale with production runs numbering in the hundreds of units.
From Steve Banker of Logisticsviewpoints.com:
“My colleague Sal Spada wrote an article on new developments in the additive manufacturing space. Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, involves joining materials to make objects from a 3D model, usually layer upon layer. In contrast, much traditional manufacturing has been subtractive; Lathes, saws, and boring tools cut materials down to make a product.
There has been some breathless coverage of 3D Printing’s impact on the supply chain. In the supply chain realm is has been speculated that additive manufacturing could be able to transform the spare parts supply chain. The idea is that instead of carrying a plethora of slow moving parts across a network of warehouses, these warehouses could just manufacture the parts as needed.”
Machine spare part obsolescence is a major headache for manufacturers. The stockout costs or consequences of non-available spare parts are invariably higher with longer periods of downtime. As time equals money, in the majority of manufacturing operations maintenance staff take their own approaches to stock management. One such way is the squirrel approach where obsolete parts are gathered for insurance purposes. Some manufacturers look to rationalize their spare part stock profile and often target high-value slow-moving parts, which are usually also the obsolete parts.
Unfortunately the rapid developments in industrial automation have accelerated the obsolescence process, leading many companies to be caught short. But with the recent burst of 3D printers becoming more accessible to the masses, we have been asking ourselves if the dawn of the 3D printer will eventually make obsolescence obsolete. The advancement in 3D printing could well change the process in which spare parts are managed – if the International Space Station can use a 3D printer to print spare parts, why can’t any other manufacturer in the future?