On 26th September, Visagio Director, Len Pannett, took part of the Workshop on Additive Manufacturing for Spare Parts Supply Chains in Utrecht, Netherlands, an event run by the University of Twente which brought together over 100 leaders from industry, the Armed Forces and academia.  He presented the topic “Supercharging Supply Chains with 3D Printing”, looking at how the technology is driving supply chains, and participated in a panel discussion on the realities and wider implications of this disruptive technology.

At the end of the event, there was cross-industry agreement that 3D printing is already reshaping supply chains, particularly in those industry sectors that involve remote operations such as Defence, Oil & Gas and Mining.  The panel highlighted that both top-down and bottom-up approaches are being used by organisations looking to prove the concept that 3D printing has a role in their operational models.  This includes looking for opportunities to leverage 3D printing’s benefits in end-use parts and in the machinery parts used to make things.  Whichever approach was used, it was agreed that the use of 3D printing is something that should be led by the supply chain function and involve representation from operations/engineering, IT, sales, finance and corporate leadership as a minimum.

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