Do you know how additive manufacturing will impact your business?

Guest Post by Mark Cotteleer, Research Director, Deloitte

By now, nearly everyone has heard the term 3D printing, or to use the more technically accurate term, additive manufacturing (AM). A quick search on Google brings up more than 70,000 news articles on this intriguing set of technologies. While it is fun to talk about printing cakes, spaceships, and even new noses, it can be hard to separate the reality from the hype and understand how businesses can use this technology to support success. During our course, 3D opportunity: The course on additive manufacturing for business leaders, we aim to facilitate that discussion and prepare course participants to lead that discussion in their organizations.

AM is an important technical innovation with roots that date more than 30 years. So, why has the strategic relevance risen sharply? In recent years, AM technologies have reached a level of maturity that increasingly allows for the existence of value-added commercial applications. Some see AM as an innovation driver that can literally transform manufacturing industries over the next decade. There are four paths companies can follow to derive value from AM. A key aim for our course is to help participants understand these paths and the drivers that influence them:

• Path I: Companies will not radically alter supply chains or end products but the time and cost saving potential of AM is definitely worth exploration for select processes.
• Path II: Companies take advantage of scale economics offered as a potential enabler of supply chain transformation for the products they offer.
• Path III: Companies take advantage of scope economics offered to achieve new levels of performance or innovation in the products they offer.
• Path IV: Companies alter both supply chains and products in pursuit of new business models.

It’s important to point out that AM is not a panacea. It will not replace traditional manufacturing methods in all circumstances and some organizations will find there is not a place for AM in their business strategy. For a multitude of organizations, however, additive manufacturing will provide the potential to innovate, grow, and achieve improved performance. Managers and executives responsible for strategy, operations, innovation, R&D, supply chain, and more need to understand the basics of AM technologies and the future impact AM may have in their sector and for their business. We hope you’ll join us as we explore this in detail during the MOOC, powered by NovoEd. For more on AM, I invite you to view our 3D opportunity research collection.