In early May, UPS and software giant SAP announced they will be attempting to modernize their supply chains by expanding 3d printing inside UPS Stores. By making goods and parts quicker and closer to their customers, they believe efficiencies increase and customers are happier.
But it's not only large firms investing in on-demand production using 3d printing. A startup consumer brand, OTHR, is making a bold attempt to create lifestyle products with high end finishings, at a price that's reasonable to millions of people. All of this while carrying no inventory.
The New York based company creates home and office products, creating each one directly after it's ordered by a customer. Cutlery sets, bathroom products, beverage tools and for those who love juicing, a particularly appealing product.
"Technology allows us to bring in massive amounts of great design without negative harm to the environment. Our products don't exist until a person buys them. We are not cutting tooling or manufacturing in another country, housing it and then shipping around the world. These things come into the world when there is a home for them," Joe Doucet, a co-founder of the company told Brian Graver at Cool Hunting.
Airbus, BMW, Nike, Ford and hundreds of other leading companies around the world are taking advantage of new production techniques that 3d printing allows for their product design divisions, but a business built around consumer goods which uses 3d printing exclusively for the production of those goods has yet to catch on.
"These are very early days," Doucet told the design and technology publication. "3D printing with steel, the way we are doing it, is only about a year old. 3D printing with porcelain has been out of beta for about six months."
The company, like Hasbro for it's My Little Pony collection, uses Shapeways for a portion of its production, perhaps an indication that there are few companies that offer reliable, scalable 3d printing of higher end, recently released materials.