Whilst modest at present, 3D printing has the potential to transform certain parts of manufacturing, and supply chains, over the longer term.
In addition, instead of taking place in bespoke factories, 3D printing will create demand for smaller and more standard premises, opening up opportunities for developers and investors.
A traditional supply chain:
Products are mass produced (e,g. in China)
Manufactured goods are ‘pushed out’ and distributed through warehouse network to customers
Long lead time
High transport costs
Large carbon footprint
A 3D printing supply chain:
‘Pulled’ by end customer demand
Locally printed and distributed
Short lead time
Low transport costs
Low carbon footprint