Procurement and supply chain jobs stimulated by emergence of 3D

Like death and taxes there is one thing you can be sure of; advances to technology will always have a place in today’s global market. If there is one thing investors will continuously have confidence in, it is products that can improve or even revolutionise the way we do things.

This bears particular relevance to procurement professionals and supply chain leaders with the rising popularity of 3D printing, which grew in value by 28.6% in 2011 and is set to continue at an annualise rate of 14% until at least 2020. These statistics are quoted in a recent article by Len Pannett where he looks at the impact 3D printing will have on the procurement and supply chain sector as a whole.

The main points to arise from Pannett’s article show that 3D is set to achieve what every procurement professional wants; to drive down costs whilst achieving significant improvements to consumer and commercial response. This will be achieved as logistics models become more streamlined as manufacturers are able to reduce their inventory levels and warehousing requirements by having 3D on-site.

The fact that manufacturers will then have closer provision of parts means delivery times can be reduced. Supply chain networks will be simplified where decreasing inventory levels lead to reduced warehousing needs.  Faster prototyping and manufacturing will ensure quicker supply chain response times and shorter product lifecycles, whilst products will become vastly cheaper to make and buy (up to 25% with some components).

Of course the increasing use of 3D will bring along its’ own set of challenges.  Third party logistics companies and warehousing specialists will see their business under threat as demand for services lessens, and competition will increase where organisations have used 3D to shorten their production cycles.

The one thing Pannett doesn’t look at however is the genuine impact 3D printing will have on enabling Britain to bring manufacturing back home. In a recent speech to The World Economic Forum, Prime Minister David Cameron calls for the UK to become the ‘re-shore nation’, and there is no doubt that doing so will help to create significant numbers of procurement and supply chain jobs and help aid our economic recovery.

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About the Author

Helen Harling

Office and Marketing Manager for both Procurement Heads and sister brand HR Heads. Graduating with a marketing degree, Helen has continued her passion by leading our marketing function forward. You will see her blogging, tweeting, posting, videoing about Procurement Heads. You can see this on our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram page.

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