Impact of 3D Printing on Small Businesses

3D Printing Impact on small businesses

3D Printing is slowly creeping into the manufacturing industry. Right from the manufacturing of customized jewelry to creating human tissue and organs, 3D printers are all set to join the main stream of manufacturing. Bigger companies have been using this technology in their manufacturing process for quite some time now, but the smaller companies have recently adopted this technology in their production processes. This has been possible with the sudden fall in the prices of 3D printers and also because of the wide variety of application which these printers are capable of performing.

3D Printing technology is totally capable of changing the way we do business and could also change the theory of Henry Ford’s assembly line technique of mass production. If smaller companies want to use 3D printing in their production process they have to radically change the working of these three areas:

  • Production
  • Storage
  • Employment practices

If the necessary changes are made in these three areas then the small scale industries can benefit one hundred percent from 3D Printing technology. Let’s talk about these three sectors separately in order to get a better perspective of the existing challenges.

  • Production:

A 3D printer can improve the efficiency of the business production process, lower down costs and also improve productivity. In does not matter if the production process adapted by the company is an in- house process or an outsourced process 3D printing can bring about changes right from the raw materials stage to the finished product stage. Large printers are suitable for large scale industries but for the small scale industries there is a need for small 3D printers which are also cost effective.

  • Employment:

It will take a long time for the 3D printing process to be as simple as the 2D printing process but until then in order to print a high quality 3D print out there is a requirement of significant technical skills. This would require the hiring of a 3D printing specialist or a need for retraining the current employees. This element should be considered in depth before thus technology is implemented in the business.


Since 3D printers can produce goods at a faster pace along with increased quality 3D printers can reduce the storage area that is required in the traditional manufacturing processes. Rather than stocking the products goods can be produced when there is a demand for it. Moreover this would lead to less wasted stocks. This would be an added advantage for companies that sell customized goods.

According to the research conducted by Gartner group, in another 5 to 10 years 3D printer would become an essential part of every household and businesses will sell their designs rather than selling finished goods. This would enable the customer to print his own items at home. With this new transformation in the manufacturing industry, there would be a considerable fall in the resources, labor and cost expenses which are incurred by the company. This in turn would empower the company to sell their goods at a very competitive rate. Ultimately reaching the win- win situation!

Image Credit: Ewan Munro (flickr handle: 55935853@N00)

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