As 3D printing becomes more common, it has begun to change the landscape for supply chain – but how is it impacting traditional risk management strategies?
Standard supply chain risks are generally based on a visible supply network, starting at the factory site level. Risk managers are able to develop their plans based on the ability to map this network and analyze the flow of materials to determine potential threats.
But according to Wayne Caccamo for Supply & Demand Chain Executive, 3D printing changes all that by making the supply chain digital – and collapse the multi-tier supply chain model in three steps:
- Globalization of production no longer applies, since 3D printers can deliver on-demand and in-house
- 3D printing can use a single process and raw material to produce products – so many tiers of processing and assembly can be eliminated, and
- On-demand printing negates the need to buffer inventories.
This new environment offers many benefits for continuity and risk professionals, including the elimination of sub-tier brand and compliance risks, introduction of greener and more efficient manufacturing processes, and better supply and demand management.
But it also boosts risks to cybersecurity – including information breaches, financial transactions, and intellectual property rights. It also increases threats to suppliers of plastics, metals, ceramics, and other current and emerging materials used in a 3D printer.
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