Will 3D Printing Reinvent the Logistics Industry?



Take a close look at how the world has handled logistics since the early days of globalization, and it becomes quite clear just how much human enterprise relies on international transport. Without logistics, businesses the world over would be unable to operate and individuals would be affected on a multitude of levels.

With the early days of 3D printing currently taking the world by storm, it appears as if we could see a dramatic change in the logistics industry in the coming years.

Logistics has always revolved around getting an item from point A to point B as quickly and inexpensively as possible. This being said, logistical issues pop up all the time and often cause major hang-ups in industry. What 3D printing has to offer is a new approach to getting goods from one place to another. If industry experts prove to be correct, it could cut out the need for a grand supply chain, thus dramatically affecting the global economy in both positive and negative ways.

What 3D Printing Offers to the World
3D printing has endless applications, but it’s always easiest to start off with a real-world example. Let’s say you’re having problems with your vehicle and it turns out you need a new part – a brake rotor, or maybe even a new vent. Typically, you might have to order this part and wait for it to be shipped to you. But with 3D printing, the part could conceivably be produced right in your own town, which would cut down on the amount of time you’d have to wait and reduce shipping costs.

This is actually closer to fruition than you might think. Ford Motors is already utilizing 3D printing for prototype parts, and it may not be long until this technology becomes commonplace in the automotive industry.

3D Printing and Logistics – The Good and the Bad
When considering the effects of 3D printing on the logistics industry, it’s important to consider how the logistics industry operates today. Many items require custom shipping boxes that must be designed and manufactured before anything can get shipped out. It’s an effective method of getting a parcel from one place to another.

Once 3D printing becomes better integrated into daily life, the logistics industry will be under a great deal of stress to keep up with the demands of the world. We will see companies restructuring how they operate on a mass scale, as global commerce welcomes an additional form of product delivery.

It’s not likely that 3D printing will have a negative impact on the logistics industry in the near future. Technology is still advancing, and until these techniques become more commonplace, their effects will most likely be minimal. But years from now, 3D printing could cause a sea change in global logistics.

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