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At Forecast 3D, digital savvy brings supply chain resiliency

Jon Wayne
By Jon Wayne Head of 3D printing & digital manufacturing’s commercial business, HP

Field Intelligence guest column

Because the global manufacturing paradigm experienced a major shift in the last year or so, companies of all sizes are now more invested in risk management planning than at any other point in recent history. Essential to those strategies is supply chain resiliency. This period of concentrated disruption and uncertainty revealed that far too many systems were designed to mostly play offense. In May 2020, 97 percent of companies surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management were impacted by COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

Jon Wayne, Head of 3D printing & digital manufacturing’s commercial business, HP

The good news is that companies are primed to evolve. How we work, buy, learn and more has transformed. How we manufacture goods must continue to, too.

The adoption of advanced technologies like 3D printing enables even the smallest companies to develop, iterate and distribute goods more efficiently as they turn to digital manufacturing for speed, flexibility and more localized and sustainable production options.

When traditional supply chains buckled beneath the strains of the pandemic, digital manufacturing provided an immediate alternative and an opportunity to build resilience for the long term.

Forecast 3D, a full-spectrum 3D printing, rapid machining and quick-turn tooling solution provider, is a testament to what organizations gain by building supply chains around a strategic equation immune to the crippling pressures traditional manufacturers are bound to confront. During the pandemic, that strategic direction paid off. An early adopter of 3D printing technology, Forecast 3D already had agile supply chain offerings prepared to respond to critical production needs. Three qualities that defined the firm’s resiliency should be priorities for every company going forward.

1. Responsiveness

Forecast 3D remained committed to its customers during the peak of the pandemic, keeping its supply chains open and producing critical personal protective equipment designed and manufactured with 3D printing technology. From face shields to face masks and nasal swabs, Forecast 3D was able to print more than 50,000 medical parts each day without having to account for downtime due to tooling or shipping delays.

2. Scalability

3D printing technology allowed Forecast 3D to continue production around the clock, achieving full production runs with more than 30 machines and over 100 build units. In just one year, the company has been able to produce more than 1.5 million high-quality parts, proving the repeatability and scalability of digital manufacturing as it continues to advance modern manufacturing capabilities.

3. Efficiency

With digital manufacturing, Forecast 3D gives its customers the advantages of faster timelines from conception to completion, the ability to print complex parts without added assembly steps, and less need for extensive warehouse storage capacity.

These benefits mean manufacturers can be more efficient and sustainable as they maintain their workflows and innovate at the same time.

Forecast 3D’s ability to work alongside the disruption of the pandemic highlights not only the company’s fleet-of-foot response to the situation but also the power 3D printing brings to supply chain resiliency and risk management.

As the global business community continues to respond to the impact of COVID-19, digital manufacturing solutions like 3D printing should be supplementing, augmenting or even replacing current production and sourcing strategies.

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