Authentise revealed it is working on a feasibility study on digital supply chains.
Digital supply chains are of particular interest to the 3D print community, as the technology could form a key part of future supply chains. 3D printing is inherently a digital form of manufacturing, but to be useful it must be integrated into an end-to-end supply chain.
Many Fabbaloo readers know very well the advantages of digital manufacturing and supply chains, yet in spite of that many SMEs have still not adopted this practice.
“While the vision is not new, it has been stifled by a lack of adoption. That’s despite the fact that such an integration could deliver significant value in terms of efficiency, agility and security. Yet, the vision has been held back by the fact that tools don’t address needs and fears of supply chain participants, particularly SME’s.”
To determine better ways to approach the adoption problem, Authentise has joined with two research organizations (Lancaster University and TWI Inc.), and Lloyd’s Register EMEA, a certification agency.
The project is set to run until Fall and is to produce usable recommendations. Authentise describes the deliverables:
“The result is not just a report but a full set of product definitions that industry participants can use to identify and de-risk potential market opportunities. This type of holistic review yielding a product roadmap has not been available previously.”
Authentise is in a good position to work on this project, as their services attempt to coordinate product manufacturing in several dimensions. They say:
“Through its previous work on both connected Manufacturing Execution Systems and research related to light weight digital supply chain tools, Authentise discovered a myriad of opportunities potentially exist that deliver value but, in falling short of full integration, address some of the challenges that have prevented this full integration from occurring. Intermediate products that address a particular need while limiting the information requirement, the adoption of a fully digital supply chain can be sped up. It is important that these tools are considered holistically to ensure that they are contributing to the vision of a fully integrated supply chain.”
I’m encouraged by this development, as any work towards increasing the use of 3D printing is beneficial. While the raw technology of 3D printing and material availability has matured considerably over the past decades, there is still the requirement for integrating these powerful technologies into day-to-day business processes.
In spite of the offerings of Authentise and others, adoption still has a very long way to go. I hope this project identifies practical ways companies can more comfortably adopt the ways of advanced manufacturing.