Hello innovators, 3D printing fanatics and fun-seekers alike! If you own your own business or want to own your business, you NEED to read this whole blog post. You'll thank me later! 

 Today I wanted to show you 4 specific ways you can incorporate 3D printing in your own business starting TODAY. Even if we don't want to admit it, technology owns a majority share in our daily lives. This is especially true if you run a business or aspire to own your own business. In order to stay current you have to grow and adapt to include new technology in your business so you can stay ahead of the competition. Simply put: if you don't innovate, someone else will.   


Path I: Stasis

3D printing has historically been used within the manufacturing industry to improve performance in product modeling and prototyping, thus positioning most companies along path I of this framework. Companies on this path can use 3D printing to improve product quality, reduce cost, and reduce time to market. The pursuit of these goals requires little alteration to your existing supply chain or products, thus offering a significantly lower-risk entry point for firms looking to apply this technology across their operating model.


 Path II: Supply Chain Evolution

Path II activities focus on improving performance through the transformation of a firm’s supply chain. The majority of the potential benefits of pursuing this path come from the ability to reduce working capital requirements and reduce the minimum efficient scale of production. Those that have pursued supply chain evolution through the use of 3D printing have done so by focusing on two primary types of value: supply chain efficiency and inventory distribution.By streamlining a product’s supply chain, companies can reduce production costs, decrease the time it takes for a customer to receive the end product, and simplify multi-step production processes. Firms concerned about their supply chain competitiveness may use AM to serve existing customers more efficiently and improve their service delivery capabilities.


Path III: Product Evolution

Path III deployments of 3D printing offer companies the opportunity to improve financial performance and revenue growth through the ability to create innovative end products that, in the absence of 3D printing, would be difficult or impossible to manufacture. The ability to combine multiple small parts into a single 3D printed part, for instance, or to customize components of a product, offers compelling opportunities. Because 3D printing can improve product fit and alter the end-product build, current applications within certain manufacturing sectors typically focus on enhanced customization. Examples can be seen in 3D printing applications related to improving visualization (in preparation for surgical procedures) and increasing the clinical efficacy of implants and other devices.


Path IV: Companies alter both supply chains and products in the pursuit of new business models.

Path IV brings together the supply chain changes of path II with the product impacts of path III. Firms on path IV look to create new value delivery methods to innovate their business models, increase growth opportunities, pursue new markets, and impair competitors’ ability to compete. Dominant themes along this path include mass customization, on-site manufacturing of custom devices, and bio printing.


Mass customization brings lower cost and better fit

Mass customization combines the low unit costs of mass production with the flexibility of individual product customization. The use of AM to mass-customize medical devices offers an example of ways that product evolution and supply chain modification can work in concert to deliver an improved product more efficiently.


Regardless of which path you chose, make sure you utilize this technology sooner rather than later. The worst thing a company can do is become stagnant. If you are ready to take the plunge, let us help you reach a new frontier with your business! 


Source: Delloitte University Press (http://dupress.com/articles/additive-manufacturing-3d-opportunity-in-medtech/)