Capturing the full value of 3D printing

The true potential of additive manufacturing by industrials for 3D printers is now being unveiled as the printers hit the shop floors.

3D printing is bringing game-changing capabilities, introducing a new ‘additive manufacturing’ paradigm to replace the ‘subtractive manufacturing’ approach. Such a shift may redistribute the cards among competitors from the conventional industry. To tap the newly-accessible value and avoid being disrupted, strategic decisions must be informed.

For conventional industrials, 3D printing could be leveraged in several different business areas. Companies should therefore rethink their entire business from product design to product delivery. For example:

  • Rethink their design approach and methodologies to capture the full effect of reduced manufacturing constraints
  • Review the development methodologies to benefit from cycle-time reduction opportunities (welcoming opportunities for game-changing development approaches, such as SCRUM)
  • Redesign the product / service offering to introduce massive customization
  • Redefine supply patterns to leverage the potential of distributed manufacturing

3D printing equipment or consumables vendors face a unique set of challenges. In particular:

  • As additive manufacturing equipment still has significant technical limitations vs. incumbent manufacturing process (printer speed, depth of materials catalogs, printable size,…), additive manufacturing companies should carefully select the technical differentiation to pursue – in accordance with their know-how and development strategy – and then focus their innovation capability
  • Since conventional industrials’ internal capabilities for 3D printing are uneven, there is an opportunity to speed-up the adoption by proposing tailored services or highly customized equipment. Such customization efforts are only profitable when correctly scoped and sized
  • Some billion-dollar sales class competitors (not all pure players, not all profitable) put pressure on the mid-size players. In order to be sizeable in the market, build-up opportunities or strategic alliances should be explored