A look into the challenges and opportunities of 3D printing.
PwC has a useful white paper on The future of spare parts is 3D A look at the challenges and opportunities of 3D printing (pdf). Making, storing, and shipping spare parts by traditional means is difficult for suppliers. In some cases, maintaining inventories of infrequently ordered parts isn’t financially viable so suppliers often stop offering them.
Instead, 3D printing allows suppliers to increase the availability of spare parts, reduce lead time and decrease costs. It’s even possible to do this locally to the customer and in some cases companies can opt to print their own parts.
Spare parts suppliers are not meeting the needs of their customers; 50 percent of customers have looked into 3D printing their own parts
The paper provides case studies and a strategy for adopting 3D printing that includes:
- Analyse your spare parts portfolio
- Perform a 3D printing feasibility study
- Challenge existing designs
- Develop the business case
- Define your 3D printing strategy
- Pilot and roll out your 3D printing strategy
Companies that invest in 3D printing today will gain a considerable competitive advantage over those that don’t