Brian Buntz

April 18, 2013

1 Min Read
The Era of the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain Is Coming (Video)

The way we think of the supply chain is transitioning from what futurist Thomas Frey calls a "just-in-case" mindset to a "just-in-time" mindset. The traditional method for a manufacturing facility, for instance, to use the supply chain is to simply stockpile a range of parts just in case they are needed at some undetermined time in the future.

Technologies such as 3-D printing could radically change the basic logic behind the supply chain by creating new products on the spot, only when they are needed. This idea extends to everything from manufacturing facilities to cars, which, if they were capable of driving themselves, could be summoned only when needed rather than sitting around unused the vast majority of the time.

In addition, as 3-D printing proponent Lee Cronin has predicted, a pill printer could be used to print any pharmaceutical drug. "This one machine could replace an entire pharmacy," says Thomas Frey in the video below. The same concept could help save manufacturers significant sums of cash by streamlining their supply-chain operations, Frey observes.

Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.

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