Supply chain management and meeting customer demand are two formidable challenges for companies across all industries. Further complicating supply chain management is how companies manage, access, maintain, and deliver legacy and spare parts. In addition, customers need to limit the downtime that comes with slow delivery and limited availability of these parts.
This places tremendous pressure on companies delivering high-value equipment, such as tractors, airplanes, and classic automobiles. Not to be overlooked are the hurdles facing companies specializing in the support and maintenance of parts for the aerospace, heavy equipment, transportation, and automotive industries.
Whether it is in providing a legacy part for a combine in a remote location in northern Canada or in providing that hard to find after-market part for a classic car, the maintenance, storage, and management of parts is an expensive proposition for companies.
These challenges are precisely what makes additive manufacturing so attractive. With additive manufacturing, companies can streamline their supply chains, meet customer demands quickly with on-demand and local production, reduce costly warehousing of legacy parts, and differentiate themselves in competitive markets.
Equipment such as planes, trucks and heavy equipment experiences a great deal of wear and tear. This demands a readily available stream of parts specific to each make and model actively in service.
This has created scenarios where providers are forced to store and manage decades of legacy parts inventories. This is a cumbersome, cost-ineffective, and lethargic way to support customers.
It’s for these reasons that additive manufacturing is poised to revolutionize how companies access, manage, deliver, and maintain parts inventory. Dying are the vast regional warehouses across the globe that must be staffed, serviced, and maintained.
Companies are increasingly able to use virtual warehousing to store digital files of their legacy parts. Using a CT scanner, parts are analyzed to capture the geometric aspects of a part in combination with the mechanical properties originally assigned. This data is then translated into a CAD model which is converted into the digital file use with a 3D printer.
With a quick call or text message to the print and production center closest to the customer, the part is produced and delivered – eliminating downtime, speeding time to market, and extending customer and brand satisfaction.
The delays that come with supporting customers in remote locations such as the far north or on construction site can be frustrating and extremely costly. Everyone is negatively affected – the customer waiting for the part and the company attempting to provide and install the part. Consider the impacts of equipment downtime, the costs of sourcing and delivering the part, and in recovering from lost productivity.
A digital warehouse of parts stands to resolve these very problems. In the case of the construction site and a backhoe, technicians can quickly log into a secure digital warehouse, 3D print and qualify the part, and have it delivered and installed in a fraction of the time it normally takes.
Additive manufacturing provides key benefits to companies relying on legacy and spare parts:
The costs to manufacture and produce the quantity of parts needed to stock globally dispersed warehouse is immense. Along with the high costs of production, companies must also manage the costs of transporting, storing, and ultimately delivering parts to customers. This can lead to an over-extended and fragile supply chain, with very little room for error.
Additive manufacturing eliminates these supply chain burdens and weak spots with the virtual warehousing of digital files, on-demand and local 3D printing facilities, and the elimination of costly physical inventories. Production is simplified, risks are eliminated, flexibility is extended, and customer satisfaction improves.
The logistics of transporting and distributing legacy and after-market parts is not simple or straight-forward. How do you respond quickly when a critical component fails on a transport truck in a remote area or when a plane is grounded at a small airport with limited access to repair facilities?
Additive manufacturing solves the problems that come supporting customers in unexpected situations. Know that you can quickly 3D print parts on-demand in a location closest to the customer and have this customer up-and-running in days instead of weeks or months.
Customers expect you to meet their demands and respond to industry trends quickly and efficiently. Traditional manufacturing practices do not make it easy to be responsive and proactive.
With additive manufacturing, you can quickly get to market, respond to industry shifts, and pivot quickly in response to customer feedback.
It’s time to change how you support and manage legacy and after-market parts. Know that Jabil has the technologies and expertise that permits you to transform from the physical to digital warehousing of parts.
Contact us to discuss how we can work with you to assess your current parts portfolio and design a transition plan that allows you to benefit from additive manufacturing.