For years, pundits have been predicting that advanced technologies like 3D printing will lead to a great disruption in global manufacturing and supply chains. This amazing 24 hour period may well be the moment that history will mark as the turning point toward this brilliant new future.
Here is what happened, and why it is so significant.
UPS and Fast Radius Launch the Uber of Manufacturing
UPS announcedthat it had created a fully distributed manufacturing platform, connecting 60 of The UPS Stores, each with mid-level 3D printers, onto an advanced production platform built and run by parts manufacturer,Fast Radius. This is no trivial achievement. In effect, this is the very first instance of the Uberization of manufacturing, seamlessly connecting demand with distributed production capacity. Look for production partners around the world on this platform to expand rapidly, mirroring UPS extensive hub and spoke distribution network. The implications for global manufacturing are potentially as disruptive as when Amazon launched its Cloud Hosting business.
SAP and UPS Announce an End-To-End Digital Manufacturing Solution
SAP announced during the keynote at its annual users conference in front of 20,000 people, a new partnership with UPS to create an end-to-end digital manufacturing solution utilizing Fast Radius for back end global production. In this model, SAP would identify parts that its customers hold in inventory that are recommended for on demand production using industrial 3D printing or other on demand production technologies. UPS and Fast Radius will then partner to manufacture and distribute these parts. In effect, SAP just alerted tens of thousands of companies to the opportunity of taking millions of parts out of inventory. On demand production just became a trending topic in CEOs offices and boardrooms around the world.
HP Unlocks the Potential for 3D Printing Manufacturing
At the worlds largest industrial 3D printing conference, HP unveiled its first production ready industrial 3D Printing System, with capabilities that may revolutionize design, manufacturing and supply chain. These new printers are 10 times faster than comparable commercial printers at half the cost. But thats not all. HP believes that in the not so distant future, this new printer technology will be able to create parts with embedded intelligence, a key to the Internet of Things. Imagine a world in which all industrial parts are printed with internal sensors, continually signaling when they are likely to break.
Alone, each of these announcements is significant. But taken together, they represent a sea-change in the future for manufacturing and supply chain. The uberization of production capacity brings manufacturing into the sharing economy. A full digital manufacturing, production and logistics solution creates an alternative to mass production and warehousing that can no longer be ignored. A printer that produces parts that can communicate awakens the Internet of Things.
For anyone who has been waiting anxiously for the future of global production to arrive, it appears that the doorbell just rang.
Co Founder and CEO at Fast Radius, Founder World 50, Bestselling Author, TED Speaker
Looking for more of the latest headlines on LinkedIn?