With the advent of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, the goals of zero waste manufacturing, destination manufacturing, design freedom seem rather reachable. And with this the fundamental principles of value creation for the consumers or the market can, not only be achieved, but be mastered.
But the only way to achieve these goals can be with heightened coordination amongst the stakeholders which can include the design engineers all the way up to the top management. This also includes the vendors and suppliers of the parts which in case of 3D Printing is usually the service bureaus. The elusive question which almost every major corporation faces is – when should we buy the machine and when should we outsource it? And the answer to this lies in more than just economic calculations on a spreadsheet.
Buying an equipment has its capital expense associated with it. But that is not where the expenses end. Staffing, training, consumables, maintenance, post processing and software all require significant time and money investment. And while all the financial costs can be calculated quiet accurately, the time factor is often ignored. The ramp up time for the operator to operate the machine consistently to the time it takes for the purchasing department to order consumables. These costs can add up quietly and quickly.
- Understand the need for coordination among various stakeholders in an Additive Manufacturing supply chain
- Take a more informed decision when faced with the question of using service bureaus vs buying the equipment
- Consider all the hidden factors which usually go on behind the scenes while making such decisions and may not be obvious (Like financial implications)