Will 3D printing make same-day delivery irrelevant?

Package sorting.Nobody likes to wait – that’s how Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com founder sees it. Amazon.com, eBay and Wal Mart are all heavily investing in the same-day delivery concept. The thing is, only large players can afford to play the same-day delivery game. But smaller companies are now claiming there’s another way to deliver goods just as quickly at a fraction of the cost. According to these companies, the future’s in 3D printing.

Is 3D printing the future?

Currently, home-based consumers and early adopters are buying into the concept. Shapeways, a 3-D printing company is already selling home 3D printers and offering 3D printing services.

What about industry adoption? Efficient companies strive to minimize the amount of time goods spend in transit during production and distribution. Now, imagine if companies could dispense with shipping altogether by “manufacturing” goods near their final destination?

This is where 3D printing comes into the picture. Imagine the possibilities on cost savings if a company could produce goods in the exact amount they are needed? Advocates are saying that 3D printing is ideal for filling gaps in the supply chain – keeping inventory low and reducing waste that occurs when the goods aren’t sold.

Read also: The impact of 3D printing on supply chain planning.

Not quite there

3D printing has the potential to be a game changer but there are a few things to iron out before that can happen. One major hurdle to overcome is printing with more than one material. A 3D printing room would need all the necessary materials in a printable form and these materials might need to be printed under different conditions. It’s a complicated process, so it’s safe to say nobody would be 3D printing their own television just yet.

The new standard to instant

Yes, 3D printing will impact same-day delivery but it’s not going to make it obsolete. In fact, it can help improve same-day delivery and improve the process. Imagine a world where same-day delivery is no longer a novelty but a common standard we all expect? That’s the possibility that 3D printing can offer us in the future.

Nobody likes to wait. But we have to wait a while longer for that perfect mash up between 3D printing and same-day delivery to come to reality.

How do you think 3D printing would impact same-day delivery? Leave us a comment or drop us a tweet @Quintiq.

Contributed by Monica Leong.