Building Resilient Supply Chains with AM

Recent global supply chain collapses forced businesses to reconsider their supply chain design. Here's how to act.

Major geopolitical disruptions have demonstrated to business leaders how fragile complex supply chains can be. The biggest impact came from the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated regulatory and health-related aftermath. In the past two years, we have seen the full collapse of supply chains in certain goods, an 8-fold increase in some shipping times, and increased transit times still 25% slower than their pre-COVID levels. Thus, business leaders today face the challenge of designing economically competitive supply chains resilient enough to withstand disruptions through times of upheaval.

Traditional vs AM supply chains

When designing resilient supply chains, additive manufacturing provides several significant benefits compared to classical subtractive manufacturing.

1. Supplier network complexity

Additive manufacturing is beneficial because it reduces the depth of the manufacturing supply chain. AM allows for complex geometries that often replace several classically machined or casted elements within an assembly. This reduces the number of required suppliers. At the same time, many supplier and procurement-related processes can be eliminated.

Even in countries with high labor costs, AM services can be sourced at competitive prices, allowing for local sourcing. This is because the primary cost driver of AM services is the asset and not the human responsible for the setup and operation. Today, a wide range of AM service providers have been established across Europe and North America, allowing companies to source AM services locally at cost-competitive prices compared to suppliers in Asia.


Want to learn more about additive manufacturing’s applications? Check out this guide to rapid prototyping.

2. Inventory Management 

Additive manufacturing easily allows for on-demand manufacturing. Machine setup times are significantly lower than classical subtractive methods or casting. This advantage of AM compared to classical machining is critical, as on-demand manufacturing is key to designing resilient supply chains that must operate under short lead times and limited stock availability.

Start Your Manufacturing Project with MakerVerse

MakerVerse is your platform for sourcing industrial parts, providing instant access to a vetted supply chain and a full range of manufacturing technologies. With AI-powered quoting, order management, and fulfillment, MakerVerse helps with everything from initial prototypes to full-scale production.

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 Standard supply chains vs MakerVerse

MakerVerse, the manufacturing platform for sourcing industrial-grade parts on demand, can help businesses overcome the challenges of building resilient and efficient supply chains.

Challenge: How to ensure fulfilment reliability in a highly fragmented supplier landscape with high demand and capacity fluctuations?

MakerVerse leverages overcapacity from a supplier network with more than 1,000 printers and machines across the world. This assures fulfillment security irrespective of individual demand cycles.

Challenge: How to deliver parts at the required industrial quality?

MakerVerse offers industrial-grade quality through its premium European supply chain, unmatched quality assurance, and the quality partnership with ZEISS Metrology.

Challenge: How to keep reliable supply chains, especially for spare parts of end-of-life machinery?

MakerVerse allows for the on-demand production of spare parts for end-of-life machinery without tooling. These parts can be printed anywhere, guaranteeing a reliable delivery with short lead times.

Challenge: How to protect from systemic and geopolitical shocks?

Low exposure to external shocks through a fully-vetted supply chain.

Challenge: How to evaluate and select the right manuacturing technologies and materials?

MakerVerse provides extensive technologies (CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, SLS, MJF, FDM, L-PBF), 100+ materials, and state-of-the-art finishing and post-processing through online selection guides and seasoned experts.