UPS Expands 3D Printing Operations to Stay Ahead

Supply chains are set to be reshaped in the coming years, as 3d printing changes the way that consumer, industrial and even military goods are made.

And since supply chains drastically affect the way global shipping giant UPS does business, the company has decided to expand a portion of its existing 3d printing operation in North America, to Europe and Asia.

“3D printing will have a significant impact on industrial manufacturing and 21st Century supply chains,” said Ross McCullough, president of UPS Asia Pacific region. “At UPS, we are embracing disruptive technologies and integrating them into our global logistics network. We believe that much like ecommerce digitized and transformed retail, 3D printing will have a similar impact on manufacturing.”

The amount of business UPS receives from storing and shipping parts for clients is not publicly available, however the resources that the company is pouring into technology that could replace that business signifies a proactive approach to participating in the way things will be made moving forward - more locally and therefore, with less shipping needed.

UPS wants people to know that it's both aware of the transformation taking place in manufacturing due to 3d printing techniques, and also a proponent of the change.

"Companies that virtualize their inventories can not only save costs by reducing the number of parts made 'just-in-case' but also can produce smaller quantities cost effectively and with the same quality, in addition to minimizing lead-times because parts are produced closer to where they are needed," UPS said in a statement to reporters today.

As industrial companies from Airbus, to BMW to Viacom utilize 3d printing more and more each day, it seems UPS has decided it's better to adapt than sit still.

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