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Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions

3D Printing and Microsoft Dynamics GP for Manufactures and Distributors


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At one time, 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) seemed like something out of a sci-fi novel.  Now, it has become a reality, and roughly 67 percent of industrial manufacturers now implement some form of 3D printing technology. And 25 percent plan to adopt 3D printing in the future, according to a report by PwC and The Manufacturing Institute.

According to an article in Industrial Distribution, manufacturers have long used 3D printing to quickly create prototypes of their products, but up until recently, not many were actually using it to create final products. Both prototyping and low-cost final product manufacturing are on the rise, and 3D printing may soon become a mainstream feature of manufacturing.

3D printing can also change the way supply chains work. It may even be possible to use 3D printing as a workaround when there is a disruption in the supply chain. If, for example, a supplier is unable to get certain components to a distributor for a limited time, the distributor might be able to print out those components on their 3D printer until supply shipping returns to normal.

3D printing is not without its critics and doubters. 47 percent of those surveyed in the report noted that they were concerned about the quality of 3D-printed products and if they would measure up to traditionally manufactured products. They also expressed concern about the components meeting the standards of regulatory agencies.

Therefore, while many analysts predict that 3D printing will eventually become commonplace in manufacturing and distribution, it still has some maturing to do. When that time comes, manufacturing and distribution may become more flexible, less expensive and faster.

3D printing will no doubt lead to questions about quality. Manufacturers and distributors can use Microsoft Dynamics GP to track this.

Serial/lot inventory tracking with Microsoft Dynamics GP can track not only the value difference in the items (to clearly show cost savings ergo increased margins) but also track any returned goods. Returned goods are an inevitable situation for any distributor, with proper tracking you will know if the returned unit was purchased or printed and settle the questions of quality.

This is just one examples of how a forward-thinking ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics GP can help you take advantage of new trends.

If you are a manufacturing or distribution company, that is ready to innovate and looking for new technology, we invite you to evaluate Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Visit: www.calszone.com/distribution

By CAL Business Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner focused on Distribution

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