New Business Models

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Rethinking How We View Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is disrupting the way companies manage their supply chains and approach their business models. In the early phases of additive manufacturing, the technologies were primarily used as a way to quickly produce prototypes.

Shift forward 30 years, and now, we’re experiencing first-hand the ways additive manufacturing is changing how companies’ approach, think about, and manage their businesses. By harnessing key advantages including design freedom, new materials, on-demand and local manufacturing, companies are beginning to realize the full potential of additive manufacturing.

With increasing pressures for companies to deliver specialized or custom products faster and more efficiently, new business model opportunities are emerging to support these pressures. In addition, companies are seeing a shift or disruption in their traditional supply chains. These are all good things that only serve to strengthen industries, spur innovation, and encourage companies to think outside-the-box.

In thinking about the ways additive manufacturing is reframing and exposing new business models and driving supply chain disruption, consider these predictions by Gartner:

  • By 2021, 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe, and other components.
  • By 2021, 20 percent of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will be using 3D printing to create custom products.
  • By 2021, 20 percent of enterprises will establish internal startups to develop new 3D print-based products and services.

Gartner sums up the core benefit of additive manufacturing, “3D printing enables organizations to shift from designing for ideal manufacturing to manufacturing for ideal design.”

New Opportunities for Growth and Change

Traditionally, manufacturing and product distribution has been cost-prohibitive and resource intensive. For startups and companies looking to reposition themselves in the market, the idea of introducing new a product or spinning off a new business segment, carried too much economic risk. 

With additive manufacturing this all changes. Now, we’re seeing small startups grow into booming and successful companies, with the support of 3D printing and distributed delivery models. Companies who were traditionally entrenched in one market segment are making calculated decisions to expand into a complementary space, with reduced risk to their core business. Mid-size companies looking for ways to reduce manufacturing costs can partner with additive manufacturing companies to reclaim lost resources and to exert more control over how products are designed, manufactured, and distributed. 

New and existing businesses can use additive manufacturing developments to create new opportunities to grow and keep pace with changing market trends:

  • Scanning companies: such as, scanning legacy heavy equipment parts and charging for access to and printing of these files on-demand and on-location.
  • File storage and management: such as, technology specialization for additive manufacturing with services in qualification, certification, and production process information. 
  • Repair, refurbishment, and support services: such as, specializing in the 3D repair of damaged wing fuselages or cabin components including tray tables and luggage compartments. 
  • Mobile manufacturing services: such as, new home building opportunities with 3D concrete pouring.
  • Retail production kiosks: such as, printing custom insoles on-demand at the local mall.

The ability to shift and respond successfully to market trends without the consequences that come with traditional manufacturing and distribution processes, is sparking opportunities for your company and for us at Jabil have to thrive and succeed. 

Business Model Transformation with Additive Manufacturing

While no two industries are the same, additive manufacturing gives companies the ability to seize opportunities and new ideas to strengthen existing business models and to support business model transformation.

  • Customize and Personalize: New business models around creating one-off products and parts that solve unique customer demands are now possible. Whether this one-off product provides a better fitting hearing aid, or it delivers a successful solution for a malfunctioning part, the opportunities are limitless. 

This approach to additive manufacturing is ideally suited to industries and markets in which customers want more than a standardized product and where it is simple to collect customer information. 

  • Segment and Respond: Additive manufacturing makes it easy to offer multiple versions of the same product across a wide customer base. Each version of the product serves a different segment of your market, allowing you to respond to a variety of customer requirements. This was not possible with traditional manufacturing and its dependencies on tooling, fixtures, and molds.

With additive manufacturing, companies can offer more design choices and quickly manufacture and deliver these options in the customer locations where they are most needed. For example, it is now easier for companies to support seasonal markets such as cold climates where specialized car parts are required or where there are high-demands for plane de-icing equipment. 

  • Modular Customization: Working in partnership with OEM companies, it is now possible to provide custom versions of a product using a 3D-printed base and a selection of interchangeable options and additions. There is deep opportunity for this business model within industries that rely on electronic devices, such as transportation, heavy equipment, industrial machines, aerospace, and automotive.  
  • Design Complexity Specialization: the design freedoms that come with fixtureless manufacturing combined with the depth of available additive materials, allows for specialization in design complexity. Engineers and designers can create designs that are custom and highly intricate geometries that increase fuel efficiencies, reduce costs, lighten equipment loads, and provide market differentiation. Think of how this can be applied to the redesign of legacy heavy equipment parts or to create medical diagnostic equipment that is both portable and durable. 
  • Low Cost High-Volume: There is an ongoing demand for standardized low-cost high-volume parts and products. With additive manufacturing practices and improvements to the supply chain, it becomes more cost-effective and easier to deliver low-margin high-volume products. For example, most modern carbon fiber bicycle frames are designed and printed at low cost which companies then buy at high-volumes, brand with their own custom paint jobs, and sell at three or four times the cost of the original frame. 

Growing with Jabil Additive

Regardless of your industry and your niche within the industry, additive manufacturing positions you to expand your business models, explore new spin-off opportunities, and to test new markets with minimal risk. 

Contact us to discuss how Jabil can help you expand outside of your traditional business model and keep you in-step with (and ahead of) market trends. Learn how additive manufacturing can support you in being the industry trendsetter when you tap into innovative business model opportunities.