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Implementation of 3D printing and the effect on decision making in logistics management

Stefan Hecker (Department of Production and Logistics Management, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 17 November 2020

Issue publication date: 29 April 2021




From a synthesis of literature, the purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual service development methodology showing the impact of 3D printing as a disruptive technology to the service portfolio. The methodology is designed to support practitioners and academics in better understanding the impact of disruptive technologies may have to the service portfolio and participate in the technology.


A literature review is conducted and based on these findings a conceptual framework has been developed.


The design of a methodology for the development of 3D printing services is used to evaluate the disruption potential of 3D printing and to implement the technology in the service portfolio of a logistics service provider. The disruption potential of 3D printing influences a logistics manager by make to order decisions. In addition, it could be proven the service portfolio was diversified.

Research limitations/implications

Literature directly dealing with technology-based service development for decision making in logistics management is rare and thus the methodology is built on insights, compiled from the distinct research areas. Further research should be performed on this nascent topic.

Practical implications

Logistics service providers may use the developed methodology to revise their service portfolio by the consideration of disruptive technologies, in order to reduce strategic misdecisions regarding the range of services.


This paper looks specifically at decision making for implementing disruptive technologies to the service portfolio.



This paper forms part of a special section “Decision Making in Logistics Management in the Era of Disruptive Technologies”, guest edited by Vijay Pereira, Gopalakrishnan Narayanamurthy, Alessio Ishizaka and Noura Yassine.Many thanks for supporting this paper and constructive discussions by Prof. Dr U. Seidenberg, Dr W. Müller, O. Klunk and M. Sieger.


Hecker, S. (2021), "Implementation of 3D printing and the effect on decision making in logistics management", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 434-453.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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