1The traditional method of manufacturing products in other countries and shipping them across the globe is no longer a sustainable solution, from both a competitive and an environmental perspective. With product modularization, a growing makers movement, and rapid advancements in 3D printing, modern manufacturers are becoming distributed, in-house, and sustainable in order to provide customers with the latest products quickly and at a reasonable cost.

Changes in customer demands are having a large influence on where and how companies manufacture products. Many companies have already begun moving production closer to demand in an effort to increase the speed to market; known as distributed manufacturing.

Although moving manufacturing and automation from low-cost to higher cost countries may seem counterintuitive, labor only represents a tiny part of total product life cycle cost. When other aspects, such as procurement, repair, and re-manufacturing, are also input into the equation, as well potential profits earned from offering faster delivery times, then the benefits of distributed manufacturing far outweigh the costs.

Further to this, 3D printing advancements are creating a shift in how products are designed and manufactured, breaking the constraints of traditional manufacturing. With the ability to print complex products in a diverse variety of materials and colors, 3d technology is becoming increasingly attractive for industrial manufacturing as it can personalize products quickly and efficiently to respond to growing client demands.

Manufacturing and automation is changing faster than ever due to rapidly advancing technologies. The key to success will be a company’s ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to changing customer needs.