The French home appliance giant Boulanger is storing hundreds of its spare parts, digitally, for free, on the internet.
Why you ask?
Boulanger is hoping to achieve a number of goals here, including lowering it's long term costs for spare parts, and embracing a 21st century supply chain methodology.
If customers can access spare parts for their appliances on the web and then 3d print them at home or through a third party, the company won't need to stock thousands of these items, lowering inventory, shipping, warehousing and employee costs.
“To slow product obsolescence, customers must be able to repair their own high-tech devices and household appliances,” said Gaële Wuilmet, Director of Boulanger Services & Innovation. “It’s in this spirt that Boulanger decided to launch the world’s first spare parts open source hub called the ‘Happy 3D’ platform. This is the first time ever that a company has published the blueprints of its own exclusive brands for the general public. In doing so, Boulanger hopes that other major brands will soon follow our lead.”
Right now spare parts include stove top dials, wheels for numerous carts, television remote pieces, measuring spoons, sauce racks and hundreds of other items, and Boulanger says it's committed to continually adding parts to its appliances in digital form.
Customers and companies stand to gain from easily accessible goods which can be made locally and on-demand. It can lower the cost of products, put the products into customers hands quicker, lower the cost of doing businesses and reduce environmental issues such as carbon emissions.
However, that also means there will be a need for less jobs in sectors such as shipping, warehousing and retail around the world.