Additive Manufacturing and Time to Market

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Rethinking How We View Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing gives companies new tools and capabilities to be proactive and reactive to customer and industry demands. Integral to continued business growth is the ability to be first to market with a new product design, part upgrade or solution to a customer problem.

This is where additive manufacturing is a differentiator for companies across a range of industries, giving them the opportunity to speed their time to market. In fact, time to market is a strategic business decision that can establish your company as an outlier and leader in your industry.

Speeding time to market is a key benefit of additive manufacturing that allows companies to respond to industry shifts, take advantage of the latest technologies, designs and materials, pivot quickly in response to customer feedback and demand, and open new business models. 

Be First with Additive Manufacturing

All companies are facing similar barriers to success including meeting demands for accelerated new product introduction, being first to market and quickly responding to demands for personalization and customization. Ultimately, the goal for any company is to grow brand and company awareness with superior customer satisfaction.

This is exactly what additive manufacturing and speeding time to market can do for companies. Now, companies know they can be first with a product that is personalized and easy to put in the hands of customers with on-demand and local manufacturing. 

Because additive manufacturing doesn’t require cumbersome tools or mold revisions, the time and costs associated with production change-over are eliminated. The simple process of sending a CAD file to a computer and printing the file means that in the time it takes to make one iteration with traditional manufacturing, 19 iterations can be completed with 3D printing.

Speeding time to market gives companies vital competitive advantages:

  • Improved customer service levels.
  • Establishment as the industry leader for new product introduction and innovation.
  • Opening new business models such as repair, refurbishment and product upgrades.
  • Support for low- and mid-volume high-value production.
  • Shortened product lifecycle and overall reduction in business operating costs.

When you speed your time to market, your company can increase production and brand commitment, grow production adoption rates, cut product margins, and establish the standards of design, production and delivery that your competition must follow.

Enabling the Time To Market Advantage

There are five key additive manufacturing technologies and capabilities that help companies establish a competitive edge, speed new product introduction and improve customer satisfaction.

1.  Prototyping

Traditionally the time between product design and full-scale production has been long and slow. Now with 3D printing prototyping capabilities, companies can easily reduce the time between idea and customer delivery. Design and engineering teams can provide multiple design iterations that can be printed, reviewed and adjusted with zero downtime.

2.  Fixtureless Tooling

The design limitations that come with jigs, fixtures and tooling are eliminated with additive manufacturing. Now designers and engineers can take advantage of complex internal lattice structures, lightweight construction and micro-component to improve overall functionality.

These design improvements mean that companies can reduce their overall time of design, manufacture, production, and delivery, further extending their ability to quickly respond to customer demands and industry trends.

3.  Full-Scale Production

With each new iteration of 3D printers, the breakeven between additive manufacturing and injection molding gets closer. For example, Jabil’s recent partnership with HP to use 3D printers to produce 3D printer parts has resulted in additive manufacturing break-even points climbing from 5,000 units to 40,000 units. Because we can prototype on the same industrial 3D printers used to produce parts at scale, the production time is reduced, and quality and performance standards are strictly monitored and achieved.

4.  Local Distribution

On-demand and local manufacturing and delivery is a distinct competitive advantage for any company. Not only is it easier to meet customer demands for faster delivery of parts, but I also is now possible to eliminate dependencies on warehouses of legacy products and parts. By removing barriers to entry to serving a dispersed customer base and making it easier to support low- and mid-volume production batches, local distribution underscores how companies can speed time to market with just-in-time manufacturing.

5.  Distributed Manufacturing

The Jabil Additive Manufacturing Network connects factories around the globe enabling distributed manufacturing, giving companies the capability to design in one location and manufacture in one that is closer to the customer. With no tools and custom parts, additive manufacturing enables the use of the digital thread to allow for a truly collaborative, transparent and efficient supply chain. The Jabil advantage lets us leverage critical resources in the right locations to ensure consistency and quality of design and manufacture – giving companies faster time to market and faster customer responsiveness.

Stay Competitive with Jabil Additive

The race to be first with a new product or solution is not going away. In fact, with the fast-changing business landscape, companies need to carve out an industry niche that makes them the go-to company.

With additive manufacturing and the ability to speed time to market, you can establish your company as the leader in being first and fast. Win the competitive race with a new product introduction, new business models, in responding to customer requests, and in reducing operating costs.

Contact us to learn how Jabil can help you position your company as a leader and outlier in design, manufacture, and customer satisfaction.