Maximizing uptime in an uncertain era

Additive manufacturing (AM) specialist Markforged explains how 3D printing can add flexibility to the just-in-time (JIT) model for supply chain resilience.

When disruptive events hit supply chains prior to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, finding a solution was simpler than it is today. It wasn't the norm to have multiple, global-scale disruptions happening simultaneously – so finding a new supplier for production line replacement parts wasn't an insurmountable task. Back then, theoretical supply chain ‘resilience’ could be achieved with traditional procurement practices and risk management frameworks.

Today, supply chain disruptions continue to occur in consistently higher frequencies and less-predictable magnitudes. For manufacturers relying on yesterday's traditional supply chain management strategies, pairing a single disruptive event with the need for even a simple replacement part can easily lead to extended production line downtime.

So, in today's world of precarious availability, how can manufacturers ensure uptime on their factory floors? While traditional just-in-time (JIT) supply chain management models alone are too taut and brittle to succeed through constant uncertainty, today's advanced additive manufacturing technologies have evolved to add resilience through greater flexibility.


Read the full feature article in the MAG Online Library here.