How 3D Printing Impacts Logistics and Supply Chains- by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

In recent years, 3D printing has brought manufacturing capabilities to several remote, hard-to-access areas across the globe. DHL, for instance, tells us that the U.S. Navy 3D prints drones on-demand on board its oceangoing vessels. NASA, meanwhile, is working to develop a 3D printer for the International Space Station. Shell is also experimenting with this remote manufacturing method on offshore oil platforms.

Pay-for-use or nonprofit fabrication shops are becoming more popular as well, offering public access to 3D printing tools, and some websites have begun aggregating 3D printing designs, allowing customers to compare and select printing services that work for their specific needs.These initiatives are disrupting the traditional manufacturing supply chain in several ways. In researching warehouse stocking practices in Amsterdam, DiManEx found that approximately 80% of stored products were sold only twice yearly, which led to write-offs, scrapping, and wasted materials. With on-demand, on-site printing, companies can move away from having to store excess spare parts and can instead deliver parts quickly and efficiently, whenever they’re required. Mercedes-Benz Trucks, for instance, allows customers to 3D print more than 30 cargo truck spare parts.

As 3D printing becomes more and more prevalent, expect to see increased supplier consolidation as well. For instance, logistics providers may offer added value by being the ones to process, print, and deliver 3D parts quickly and cheaply. In this way, the typical months-long process of designing, sourcing, and producing component parts can be cut down drastically. In the future, 3D printing warehouses may also take on the responsibility of material sourcing in addition to 3D end-to-end design, production, and delivery. As an example, consider Amazon’s bet on this technology: The company has patented a truck fitted with 3D printers that would allow for sophisticated mobile manufacturing capabilities. Increased responsiveness is also likely, as 3D printers allow for smaller batch sizes, which can positively impact quality control and open the door for expedited product development.

Finally, this kind of technological innovation is likely to bring about advanced customization options, as users will be able to select various aspects of the design, material, shape, size, packaging, and so on. And in gaining the power to make and deliver their own 3D-printed products, customers will no longer be limited to what suppliers themselves design and produce.

 

References:

3D Printing Finds Its Place in the Supply Chain. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://news.thomasnet.com/featured/3d-printing-finds-its-place-in-the-supply-chain/

 

Questions:

  1. How is 3D printing bringing about advanced customization options into supply chains ?
  2. How is 3D printing reducing wastage in supply chains ?
  3. How is 3D printing improving the efficiencies of supply chains ?

 

 

 

Peru and the TPP

With the global market as prominent as it is, any major global trading agreement is something to research and understand. The TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, is one of the bigger agreements made in recent history, and one of the major players in this agreement is Peru. What part does Peru play and what are some of the benefits they will get from being a member of this agreement? The article “The TPP will give Peru direct access to markets such as Australia and New Zealand” (http://www.amcham.org.pe/publicaciones/articulos.php?art=3) touches on these questions and dives into their respective answers. Three of the main takeaways with respect to Peru are shown below:

  1. “Peru will see its exports increase by $3.2 billion by 2025, once the TPP is finalized.
  2. Peru will now have access to Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Vietnam and their corresponding markets.
  3. “Many of the benefits will be seen in non-traditional sectors, such as agricultural exports”

With the TPP being such a talking point, especially now during the Presidential debates, it will be interesting to monitor the progress of this agreement, and how Peru actually benefits from being part of this free trade agreement. Will the benefits be the same as this article predicts? Only time will tell.

New Zealand and the TPP

In the article “TPP – What You Need To Know” (http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/top/295574/tpp-what-you-need-to-know) , a brief overview of the TPP and its potential benefits to New Zealand are given. What is the TPP agreement again? Per the article it is set as a “set of trade and investment negotiations among 12 Asia-Pacific countries to cut tariffs, improve access to markets, and set common ground on labor and environmental standards and intellectual property protections. Specific to New Zealand, what are the biggest benefits? Citing the article, “agricultural tariffs either disappear of fall sharply, particularly in the heavily protected but lucrative US and Japanese markets”. It is estimated that the elimination of tariffs will save exporters $274 million a year once TPP has been adopted and implemented. With such great financial benefits, what are the possible downsides of the agreement? Some people theorize that the TPP will result in higher prices for medicine, recordings, books, and “other products affected by longer copyright periods”. Likewise, critics say that the TPP will benefit the large corporation, not the consumer. Which is correct? Which will benefit New Zealand more as a whole?

Is the TPP an Honor for New Zealand?

Throughout the life of the TPP, there has been an immense amount of negative publicity. Amid this storm of publicity, the article “TPP Signing an Honour, Let’s Respect It” (http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11573339) shines a new light onto the agreement. According to the article, the TPP is “the most comprehensive and far-sighted economic agreement the world has seen in our lifetime”. With only 12 nations from the entire world playing a part in the agreement, the group is very selective. This shows a lot of respect for New Zealand among the world’s largest and most powerful countries. Likewise, there is the potential for immense profits and additional jobs. The author acknowledges the fact that there will be protest due to “the TPP’s intellectual property discussions the risk that US patent law and copyright protection of pharmaceuticals and other products”, but maintains the vision of respecting the value New Zealand receives from being a part of such a monumental agreement. Which point of view is correct? Is the TPP a positive or negative for New Zealand? Is there validation to both sides of the argument?

The TPP and the New Zealand Education System

The article “TPPA Threatens Quality Public Education in New Zealand” explains how the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could effect, and potentially damage, the public education system in New Zealand. Per the article, NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter stated that “the deal puts at risk the rights of sovereign nations to enact laws and regulations that stop foreign edu-businesses from setting up in New Zealand, maximizing their profits and dominating New Zealand education”. This is proposed as a major threat as New Zealand currently has a “fee-free” public education system. The article states that other countries, one of which is Singapore, specifically included a clear exemption to this in their TPP agreement. New Zealand failed to do so, which has “put at risk the rights of future governments to protect public education against any changes that would disadvantage global edu-businesses”. The article concludes by reviewing that the TPP was made to be an “international trade agreement…it is not about providing free good quality public education for children and future generations”. Will this argument convince the New Zealand government to reconsider signing the bill until certain changes are made? What will the New Zealand government’s response be?

New Zealand and the Meat Industry

The article “TPP to Deliver Removal of Tariffs” is an article specific to New Zealand, the meat industry, and the effects TPP has on both. As stated in the article, “in 2014, New Zealand exports of beef, sheep meat, and co-products to TPP countries total $2.4 billion USD. This equated to over one third of New Zealand’s total exports worldwide”. Tariff costs for exports to the TPP countries totaled $94.3 million. It is estimated that through the TPP, an” estimated $72 million in tariff costs” will be saved once fully implemented and operational. Specific to New Zealand, there are three main highlights. The first is the “removal of all tariffs on sheep meat in TPP countries within eight years or less when the agreement enters the force”. The second main requisite is the “removal of all tariffs on beef in TPP countries, except Japan, within 11 years or less from when the agreement enters into force”. Last is the “reduction of Japanese tariffs on beef from 38.5% to 9% over 16 years”. These changes obtained through the TPP will “secure market access and the red meat sector’s competitiveness not only into North Asia but will further integrate New Zealand into the Asia-Pacific regional supply chains”. Are there any potential side effects? Are any other countries in the TPP hurt by the adoption of the TPP?

Good or Bad for Kiwis?

 

In the article “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)” (http://itsourfuture.org.nz/what-is-the-tppa/), the author outlines several concerns specific to New Zealand and its involvement in the TPP. One of the problems the author presents are that “it will become much harder for the New Zealand government to look after our environment” because of the TPP.  It is also proposed that there will be added restrictions on foreign investment will be frozen, New Zealand will be sued by overseas companies, and medicines will become more expensive as big pharmaceutical companies gain influence over PHARMAC. Additionally, the author proposed that copyright laws will be toughened and more harshly enforced, as well as more power obtained by foreign banks and insurance companies. While many argue that the TPP would allow New Zealand to enter a more global market, the author proposed that the “they are disrespectful to the diverse communities across Aotearoa who fear the TPPA is being negotiated solely for big corporations, and not in the interests of ordinary kiwis”. Are these accusations correct? Will New Zealand end up benefiting from the TPP or being hurt by it? Only time will tell, but it is always beneficial to look at every decision from all angles, both positive and negative.