The purpose of this paper is to offer empirical insights on emerging additive manufacturing (AM) processes, barriers to their adoption and a timeline of expected impacts on the supply chain in the manufacturing industry.
A multi-stage survey study was conducted with a panel of 16 experts from industry and academia.
Only five out of today’s seven AM processes are of future importance, as are two emerging key processes. In total, 15 barriers to their adoption are identified, all of which are expected to be gone within ten years. Eight propositions are derived postulating as to whether and when supply chain impacts can be expected in terms of changes to supply chain structure, customer centricity, logistics and supply chain capability.
“Soft” barriers are new to the literature, which has traditionally focused on “technical” barriers. Often-discussed barriers such as production speed and costs do not reflect the true concerns of the research panel. Furthermore, some of the supply chain implications discussed in both the academic literature and the media are found to be unlikely to materialize.
The study summarizes AM processes, technologies, barriers and supply chain implications solicited from experts in the field.
This is one of the first studies to make empirical contributions to a vastly conceptual discussion. It is also the first study to give insights on a timeline for barriers and supply chain implications.
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support by the Kühne Foundation and particularly thank Emre Akyol for his support in data collection.
Durach, C.F., Kurpjuweit, S. and Wagner, S.M. (2017), "The impact of additive manufacturing on supply chains", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 47 No. 10, pp. 954-971. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-11-2016-0332
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