Continually expanding as a tool in contemporary manufacturing, 3D printing is also now leveraged as a defense against more serious, global matters like supply chain issues. Speed and the ability to customize intensively reign as the top benefits offered via additive manufacturing (AM) at any time but especially now–providing the means to make bespoke products with no machining, little to no lead time, and iterate or make changes as needed.

Nearly everyone is being affected by supply chain issues, from obtaining even surprisingly small and inconsequential products to very necessary items on a larger scale. On-demand manufacturing is an advantage that is built into 3D printing technology, offering businesses the opportunity not only to eliminate supply chain problems–but take ordering and production to the next level with streamlined automation.

Many Businesses are Stretched to the Limit with Production Challenges

Supply chain challenges have been jarring for customers, manufacturers, and everyone in between. Rather than humming along smoothly on all cylinders as in the past, an ever-growing number of businesses and consumers are being adversely affected like never before–and in nearly every application–from basic household products to automobiles and necessary parts, and critical supplies for facilities like hospitals. 

In the midst of these struggles, however, a new and unexpected dynamic is also in play as more

consumers than ever have cash to spend, and they are doing so copiously. Unfortunately, with a supply chain process that is currently fragmented, and interrupted at many points, frustration ensues when products don’t arrive as expected or at all. Even as factories overseas continue to try and increase production, there may be breakdowns in both communication and timely deliveries from middlemen. Further, even products that have been manufactured and are ready for delivery are lost in the mix due to overwhelming traffic at ports and at shipping docks.

Disrupted times call for disruptive solutions, with 3D printing leading the way. Although many Shapeways customers have been engaged in on-demand 3D printing for years already, the current supply chain issue now highlights the ease in which businesses can circumvent such problems. While some companies may now want to use 3D printing as a stop-gap measure to manufacture and deliver products more quickly and efficiently, others may change production methods radically upon having their eyes opened to the myriad, positive effects.

Eliminating Stress Over Warehouse Scarcity and Other Positive 3D Printing Impacts

Conversely, for those who are able to get products, warehouse space is now challenging to find in many areas; in fact, businesses with bigger pockets are purchasing warehousing sites before they are even built. For those who aren’t so lucky and are attempting to take possession of large quantities of merchandise, they may struggle to keep product from being left to sit on the shipping dock indefinitely. 

3D printing can offer a quick fix for many companies worried about getting products to their customers faster. On-demand 3D printing allows for rapid manufacturing of customized parts, as well as production in local areas rather than depending on products from overseas that are still being delayed due to supply chain issues. With Shapeways, products can be 3D printed quickly and delivered in customized packaging to manufacturers or their own customers.

Other major advantages include:

  • Security in uploading, maintaining, and storing 3D digital inventories, along with preventing other issues like overproduction. Not only is the need for warehouse space decreased or completely eliminated, but extra inventory no longer sits around indefinitely. 
  • The ability to 3D print with reduced assemblies to streamline production; in fact, for some larger pieces, part counts can be decreased exponentially and ultimately, the structures are lighter in weight too. The overall result is greater efficiency with higher quality and optimization, combined with less use of resources and energy overall.
  • Greater efficiency leading to faster time to market whether in manufacturing high-performance components for critical use, or other types of products too.

In partnering with Shapeways for 3D printing, the supply chain is streamlined and improved, and manufacturers have more control over customization, personalization, and distribution. 

About Shapeways

Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 21 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways additive manufacturing solutions, and get instant quotes here.