Technology changes fast. And those technological changes have enormous (and often unanticipated) impacts on business.
For example, consider the development and rise of 3D printers, also known as additive manufacturing technologies (see links below). To build, for example, an airplane part using traditional techniques, one begins with metal, then either carves away the unwanted parts, or pours it into a mold. In contrast, to make an airplane part using additive technology, a 3D printer lays down successive layers of metal powder and binder, 100 micrometer (1/10 millimeter) thick, until the part is constructed from the bottom up.
3D printers have been in use in industry for some time. General Electric Aviation has been using 3D printing for creating airplane parts, and recently purchased their supplier, Morris Technologies.
But 3D printers have recently hit the mainstream.
3D printers can be purchased for the home, and have been used to manufacture jewelry, automotive parts, artificial hips, crowns and hearing aids. Staples now offers 3D printing services (see link below). Databases like Thingiverse allow the sharing of 3D printing plans. At the bleeding edge, 3D printers are printing hamburgers and artificial organs using stem cells.
What are the implications of 3D printing for manufacturing, operations management and inventory control? Where will the value be in the new value chain? Continue reading ‘The Future of Business is Technological-Part One.’