Zach Simkin, founder of Senvol, has identified seven best-case scenarios for taking advantage of additive manufacturing (AM):
- Expensive to manufacture – Do you have parts that are high cost because they have complex geometries, high fixed costs (e.g. tooling), or are produced in low volumes? AM may be more cost-efficient.
- Long lead times – Does it take too long to obtain certain parts? Are your downtime costs extremely high? Do you want to increase speed-to-market? Through AM, you can often get parts more quickly.
- High inventory costs – Do you overstock or understock? Do you struggle with long-tail or obsolete parts? AM can allow for on-demand production, thus reducing the need for inventory.
- Sole-sourced from suppliers – Are any of your critical parts sole-sourced? This poses a supply chain risk. By qualifying a part for AM, you will no longer be completely reliant on your current supplier.
- Remote locations – Do you operate in remote locations where it is difficult, time consuming, or expensive to ship parts to? AM may allow you to manufacture certain parts on-site.
- High import/export costs – Do you pay substantial import/export costs on parts simply because of the location of your business unit and/or your supplier? On-site production via AM can eliminate these costs.
- Improved functionality – AM can enable a part to be redesigned such that its performance is improved beyond what was previously possible.