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It’s been probably a month or so since I touched on 3-D printing and the metal construction industry. With that being said why am I saying that 3-D Printing will disrupt all industries? Well, let’s start with a distribution/logistics company that is getting involved, can you guess who? If you guessed 
UPS then you are right and should have that extra muffin for breakfast today. UPS primary business is to deliver goods from one point to another point, but why would they get involved if that is their primary business? UPS feels 3D printing is a disruptor and instead of denying that fact they have decided to embrace it. We’ve seen it through the course of history in business you either fight the inevitable or embrace it so that your business keeps moving along.
UPS has a relationship with an organization named CloudDDM. What’s DDM you ask? It stands for Direct Digital Manufacturing. Consider what UPS primary business is and how difficult it can be to deliver specific products to far-reaching places around the planet, are you with me? With 3-D printing they can now create relationships with their own customers in getting to that end goal of delivering goods and products ahead of schedule. How you ask? If UPS can create these partnerships with manufacturers a whole new leaf is turned because the manufacturing can be done on-site, yes at UPS. This means an incredible amount of savings for the manufacturers and end-user.
What does this all mean to our manufacturers in the metal construction industry? Well, if you are a manufacturer that can’t invest in the costs associated with 3-D printing then UPS is a viable option. We’ve used S-5! as an example in the past and will use it here again. So S-5! manufactures S-5! metal clamps for roofs and let’s just say a customer in India needs them within a day. The order is placed that and packed that same day. UPS picks the order up or S-5! drops it off at the facility. That is one day gone already or maybe two depending if the order came in late in the day. What UPS is on the verge of doing is creating another piece for their business where S-5! could send the files over for the S-5! clamp to UPS. UPS would then print them on-site in India and the clamps would get to the buyer the same day. Genius right? This saves money and also addresses your customer’s needs. For the contractor on the job it saves time and money as well no question about it.
The challenge in our industry is how manufacturers respond to this disruptor. Do they invest in 3-D Printing or do they take a route that UPS will offer? I believe either choice will benefit your business. All of this is just a glimpse into the future of what is happening right now as we speak, early adopters will come out of this profitable and still functional, others not so much. We certainly hope you are making a smart business decision for your future now.
*If you are a 3D printing company that would like to exhibit at METALCON 2016 in Baltimore please contact us as soon as possible. This would be a great opportunity to meet the top manufacturers and contractors in the industry. Please email your inquiry to metalcon@psmj.com