3D printing equips the logistics and supply chain department with flexibility and entirely transforms the logistical distribution of a product.
FREMONT, CA: With technologies paving the way to the future, smart manufacturing strategies are also swiftly gaining popularity. Most of the manufacturers consider the supply chain as an essential component of Industry 4.0. They weigh partners on the supply and distribution end not just with performance but also in terms of competitive advantages that they deliver. While some manufacturers focus on customization as a measure of competitive advantage, others aim for speed. Further, the “Amazon Effect” is forcing the industry to have higher expectations from supply chain organizations.
In B2C and retail space, consumers can order customized products and track the progress of raw materials, the work in progress, finished goods, or delivery. Some manufacturers are also eyeing 3D printing to provide last minute and customized production increasingly. While some organizations are already using 3D printing technology to develop their products, some are ready to use 3D-printed titanium components in their upcoming offerings. Even smaller manufacturers are transitioning to production entirely through 3D printing technology. 3D printing equips the logistics and supply chain department with flexibility and entirely transforms the logistical distribution of a product.
Reverse logistics is gaining momentum for the manufacturers in the era of customer-driven customization. There has also been a movement to a product-as-a-service model with original equipment manufacturer (OEM), taking more accountability for maintenance, upgrades, and keeping the platform operational.
According to a report by the Smart Manufacturing Experience, around 43 percent of manufacturers consider that the industry is already transforming due to digital technology solutions. It accounts for smooth operation, increased productivity, and better decision-making capabilities. Manufacturers must begin with a roadmap that includes the assimilation of business and manufacturing systems which should start with logistics, suppliers, and providers.
However, despite the recent trends and visibility, there is still an alignment gap between the logistics providers and the manufacturers. For instance, manufacturers may be interested in the whole picture, which is not always in the interest of the carrier or the logistic service provider.