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How to Build Resilient Supply Chains with Additive Manufacturing

Recent global supply chain collapses forced businesses to reconsider their supply chain design. Here's how to act.

A stress test for supply chains

Major geopolitical disruptions have demonstrated to business leaders how fragile complex supply chains can be. The biggest impact came from the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated regulatory and health-related aftermath. In the past two years, we have seen the full collapse of supply chains in certain goods, an 8-fold increase in some shipping times, and increased transit times still 25% slower than their pre-COVID levels. Thus, business leaders today face the challenge of designing economically competitive supply chains resilient enough to withstand disruptions through times of upheaval.

Traditional vs AM supply chains

When designing resilient supply chains, additive manufacturing provides several significant benefits compared to classical subtractive manufacturing.

1. Supplier network complexity

Traditional supply chains vs additive manufacturing supply chains

Additive manufacturing is beneficial because it reduces the depth of the manufacturing supply chain. AM allows for complex geometries that often replace several classically machined or casted elements within an assembly. This reduces the number of required suppliers. At the same time, many supplier and procurement-related processes can be eliminated. ​

Even in countries with high labor costs, AM services can be sourced at competitive prices, allowing for local sourcing. This is because the primary cost driver of AM services is the asset and not the human responsible for the setup and operation. Today, a wide range of AM service providers have been established across Europe and North America, allowing companies to source AM services locally at cost-competitive prices compared to suppliers in Asia.

Want to learn more about additive manufacturing's applications? Check out this guide to rapid prototyping.

2. Inventory Management

Inventory management in additive manufacturing supply chains

Additive manufacturing easily allows for on-demand manufacturing. Machine setup times are significantly lower than classical subtractive methods or casting. This advantage of AM compared to classical machining is critical, as on-demand manufacturing is key to designing resilient supply chains that must operate under short lead times and limited stock availability.

AM supply chains vs MakerVerse

MakerVerse, the additive manufacturing platform for sourcing industrial grade parts on demand, can help businesses to overcome the challenges associated with building resilient and efficient supply chains.

Challenge: How to ensure fulfilment reliability in a highly fragmented supplier landscape with high demand and capacity fluctuations?

MakerVerse leverages overcapacity from a supplier network with more than 700 printers across Europe. This assures fulfillment security irrespective of individual demand cycles.

Challenge: How to deliver AM parts at the required industrial quality?

MakerVerse offers industrial-grade quality through its premium European supply chain, unmatched quality assurance, and the quality partnership with Zeiss Metrology.

Challenge: How to keep reliable supply chains, especially for spare parts of end-of-life machinery?

MakerVerse allows for the on-demand production of spare parts for end-of-life machinery without tooling. These parts can be printed anywhere, guaranteeing a reliable delivery with short lead times.

Challenge: How to protect from systemic and geopolitical shocks?

Low exposure to external shocks through a local supply chain concentrated only in Europe.

Challenge: How to evaluate and select the right AM technologies and materials?

MakerVerse provides an extensive range of printing technologies (SLS, MJF, FDM, L-PBF), 25+ materials, and state-of-the-art finishing and post-processing through online selection guides and seasoned AM experts.

Get started with MakerVerse's premium supply chain.

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