There is barely a day without a new announcement about a 3D printing* breakthrough or new 3D printable material or finding 3D printing new applications.
*I use “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” interchangeably
In most cases, 3D printing allows a totally new approach and reinvented value proposition, e.g. printing teeth, prosthetics, glasses frames, mechanical parts or fully functional systems, etc.
3D printing frees from many constraints, especially molds, complicated assemblies, other expensive tooling or multiple steps machining necessary to cut away material in traditional manufacturing.
It does not require to have huge series to ensure low unit cost and is “infinitely” flexible for design changes and ready for almost any customization.
Additive manufacturing challenges former accumulated experience in traditional manufacturing and does not require expensive machines, thus breaks down many barriers and opens markets to new entrants.
As many applications of additive manufacturing already proved, there is virtually no business safe from 3D printing/additive manufacturing applications and the threat of new entrants.
Chances are that an unexpected competitor arises overnight with a revolutionary new approach to satisfy your customers, ruining years of investments, efforts and accumulation of experience.
The (potential) irony is that this new competitor can not only steal your business, but lock your company out of the market if it does not have the competences, know-how, agility nor resources to switch to the new manufacturing way.
Therefore it is wise for every – emphasize EVERY- business to SWOT-analyse itself from the perspective of the new manufacturing way.
Reminder: SWOT stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, a strategic analysis tool to assess the company’s position on the market and compare it to existing and potential competition.
Should Weaknesses and/or Threats prevail, the company is possibly in danger.
Yet 3D printing can also help reinvent the way your company does business and exploit the Strengths and/or Opportunities going the 3D printing way.
One more reason for swoting your business.
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