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4 Ways 3D Printing Can Mitigate Supply Chain Risk & Create Adaptability

Events such as the surprise of the Brexit referendum, hurricanes in the Caribbean and the return of restrictive tariffs have already created challenges in supply chain logistics worldwide. Now, with the current global health crisis creating unprecedented unpredictability, manufacturers need faster and more reliable alternatives for critical parts and components.
GoProto excels in supply chain diversification with worldwide capabilities and brick and mortar facilities here in the US. And, as the 3D printing industry has matured, new technologies, materials and processes have emerged that could be immediately deployed to provide relief within strained supply chain. To help understand how 3D printing can be leveraged for relief, here are four advantages to consider:

Inventory & Resource Management – Traditional supply chains present a trade-off: to reduce part cost, you must commit to high minimum order quantities. This drives higher carrying costs, labor costs and the risk of obsolescence as product lifecycles phase out. With 3D printing, production can be on-demand, producing parts only when needed, and in the quantity needed, 1 part or 5,000 parts, without the need for costly tooling.

Local Manufacturing & Support – To augment our huge range of services, we at GoProto manufacture at our own facilities in the United States. By onshoring our production, we mitigate the risk due to unpredictable realities of nature, politics, and tariffs. With dedicated account managers living and working locally across the US, we mitigate air-travel restrictions by coming straight to you with design and application development assistance.

Agility & Demand – Unpredictable demand due to seasonality or other reasons can wreak havoc on a supply chain. On-demand 3D printed parts can be produced without lengthy lead times and contracts. Designs can be changed seamlessly, production can move from one part to another more efficiently, without added cost and time for tooling changes.

Flexibility Across the Product Lifecycle – 3D printing covers the needs of all phases of the product lifecycle. From prototyping, to bridge production, to full lifecycle maturity, and back down to spare parts and obsolescence. During production, 3D printed tools, jigs and fixtures are becoming more commonplace. And, rapid injection tooling is 3D printed to support not just production but product development as well.

Politics, tariffs, natural disasters and health issues can disrupt a company’s supply chain to wreak havoc on production and fulfillment. But the current crisis doesn’t have to mean collapse. Instead, it can be used as an opportunity to revolutionize supply chain planning and methodology.
US-based contract manufacturers – yes, including GoProto – offer a wide range of 3D technologies to address most supply needs. These include Multi Jet fusion, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), and SLA. But also, on-demand services, such as sheet metal, CNC machining, injection molding, rapid injection tooling and other services, making a one-stop solution for an unexpected supply chain disruption.
You may find that instead of simply bridging the gap until the clouds clear, you can improve your core planning and create a new model that is stronger, more flexible and more agile than the old methodology and one that will help guard against unpredictability moving forward.