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Additive Manufacturing and Demand Management

Staying Ahead of the Curve with Additive Manufacturing

Technology is developing at exponential rates, and every other industry is developing simultaneously. The latest development in the technological world is additive manufacturing at a large scale. More commonly known as 3-D printing, the young concept has grown to a mass production level rather quickly. However, 3-D printing and rapid prototyping, while used interchangeably with additive manufacturing, are subsets of the same. The role it plays in the manufacturing industry now is highly impactful and is bringing about change that is long overdue.

There is no limit to the positive impact of additive manufacturing. It is a sustainable, durable, more efficient, and the extent of manufacturing design it allows is incomparable. Additionally, it is reforming traditional supply chains across industries, allowing companies to reduce losses, save time, optimize products, and increase automation, also in-turn reducing risks substantially.

However, as the manufacturing industry grows, it is faced with challenges relating to changing demands, on-demand needs, wide range designing and execution, major investment, and maintenance. Experts suggest leveraging demand management solutions for efficient growth. Demand management helps additive manufacturers strategize according to customer demand and benefit from all the advantages it offers. In this article, Infiniti’s industry experts discuss additive manufacturing and the advantages, impact on businesses, and need for demand management.

Speak to our exerts to learn more about the role of demand management in the growing manufacturing industry and stay ahead of the curve.

The Advantages of Additive Manufacturing

As an industry grows, so do the technologies it employs. Additive manufacturing is a crucial indicator of the growth of the manufacturing industry. To help understand how it is beneficial, experts at Infiniti have highlighted the following four key advantages:

  • Design Freedom: Additive manufacturing uses materials that can be printed in the preferred design, removing the limitations of rigid and unyielding materials. This allow for a wider range of designs. Reducing the need to design and construct in limited capacities. Parts that previously required welding or brazing, can now be singularly designed and manufactured. This also allows to create designs that could previously not be attached due to various material issues.
  • Sustainability: Additive manufacturers can now use solely the materials required, bringing down waste by a substantial amount. Without the need to cut parts or supply from a larger material, such as rigid flex, there is no excess material that would most commonly need to be disposed of. This in-turn reduces energy consumption and lowers carbon footprints.
  • Faster Manufacturing Cycles: Since the process is initiated through efficient software, a large amount of time is saved in the transfer of information process. This allows for faster prototype production, and therefore, faster testing. Additionally, changes can be made immediately, reducing time and material wasted in the testing or optimizing process.
  • Accuracy and Efficiency: The high level of automation, design freedom, and control through software in additive manufacturing provides high levels of accuracy that would not be possible with an assembly line. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the changes required can be immediately made, and efficiency will remain uncompromised.

The Business Impact of Additive Manufacturing

While knowing the wide span of advantages of additive manufacturing is crucial, it is also important to understand how exactly they impact businesses. Additive manufacturing has had a highly positive impact on the manufacturing industry, and all other industries associated with it. The following five points explain the business impact as well:

On-Demand Supply:

Additive manufacturing allows for goods and products to be produced as and when required, as opposed to the mass manufacturing approach of the traditional method. This allows for customers to acquire products, spare parts, and goods as per their need, and businesses to only produce as per current or accurately forecasted demand. For businesses, this translates to reduced waste, higher demand, higher customer satisfaction, and reduced costs.

Faster Supply Chain:

Additive manufacturing majorly reduces the impact of various physical material issues. An additional impact reduced by this form of manufacturing is that of trade issues. The materials used are readily and locally available, reducing the risk of changing policies. Additionally, with the reduced need for assembling various parts, since products can be printed in various geometric shapes, there is need for a singular raw material.

Increased Automation:

Since a single unit can produce a complete part without the need for tooling, reducing dependence on fixtures and production time. Further, there is a reduced need for manual intervention during the manufacturing process, seeing as most of the process is automated. This requires a lower amount of labor, also requiring less-skilled operators.

Product Optimization:

The most prominent issue in mass production, is the inability to make immediate changes to the product or process. For instance, a flaw in a certain manufactured product, would require various major adjustments in the manufacturing process to change. Since additive manufacturing uses one raw material, and can be digitally controlled, change is easier, which in turn makes product optimization easier. Reducing the costs of procuring more raw material, the need to acquire more skilled labor, and the loss of large sums due to a flaw.

Understanding the advantages and business outcomes of additive manufacturing is crucial to propelling the growth of the manufacturing industry. Get more information to gain more in-depth insights from our experts.

The Role of Demand Management Solutions

While additive manufacturing has innumerable advantages, it also has certain challenges that make it difficult for industries and companies to easily grow with the fast propelling industry. While these units conserve time by reducing transport of raw materials, allowing automation, and allowing faster testing cycles, their limitation is that they print one layer at a time. Similarly, other challenges such as the lack of expertise in this field, the large initial investment and maintenance costs, and the lack of digital infrastructure required in many cases.

However, these are challenges that can be efficiently dealt with as the system begins to grow. More importantly, companies now faced with high demand, and issues with delivering accordingly. The future of additive manufacturing is highly dependent on its interaction with demand management solutions in the coming years of forecasted growth. Infiniti Research’s demand management experts are equipped to approach and tackle this exact challenge. By efficiently forecasting demand, preparing for market trends, and estimating consumers’ demands, the demand management process can significantly reduce risks and increase supply chain agility.

The demand management process is crucial to the efficient growth of additive manufacturing. Request a free proposal to learn how Infiniti’s demand management solutions experts help additive manufacturers grow strategically.

Customer needs analysis

A Closer Look at Demand Management and Its Core Components

What is demand management?

Demand management, also known as consumption management or strategic spend management, involves controlling and tracking the requirements of different business units and other internal purchasing operations. Engaging in demand management practices helps organizations to avoid gaps in supply and demand and also promote better supplier relationships. Demand management techniques also play a major role in addressing external spending factors, arranging purchase orders, and eradicating waste.

Core components of demand management

A demand management process can involve a wide range of disciplines depending on the unique processes of each organization. However, on a broader level, a demand management plan generally encompasses these core components:

Forecasting

There is more to forecasting than merely loading data into a spreadsheet, forming a basic view of projected sales based on that data, and then adjusting the business plan accordingly. Including multiple scenarios in the forecasting process prepares the company for virtually any unexpected twist or turn.

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Supply planning

Irrespective of the industry, the marketplace is highly dynamic. Furthermore, there may be constant changes in the supplier landscape, wherein new suppliers may spring up in the market or an existing supplier may go out of business. But if companies are not prepared to meet these changes and only react when they occur, chances are that they may get left behind among the other players in the market. By maintaining deep visibility into the capabilities and business health of all the suppliers, organizations can be positioned for continued success irrespective of what happens in the global business climate.

Demand analysis

Basing the demand decisions only based on the sales data may be a huge mistake for companies. Most ERP systems record sales based on when a product has been shipped and not based on when it was first ordered. Only by keeping an accurate view of order history can they paint a realistic picture of the company’s demand—and then strategize on ways to meet that demand year after year.

Sales and operations planning

The idea that the supply chain organization can operate in a silo, free from the input of executives is outdated. Over the past two decades, organizations that make and sell products have embraced sales and operations to involve a wider range of stakeholders in every supply chain decision—and to incorporate supply chain information and needs into every business decision. 

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Demand management

Demand planning vs demand management

Demand planning is the process of forecasting consumer demand for a company’s products or services well into the future. It is usually associated with sales, but it is closely tied to supply planning, which seeks to ensure that a company has enough supplies to meet the market demand. Ideally, a company’s demand-planning process helps maintain supply levels that meet demand or just slightly exceeds demand.

Demand management, on the other hand, is similar to demand planning, but demand management looks at consumer demand in the short term. Demand management is the oversight of current consumer demand to ensure that a business does not experience any loss of profits. Demand management is much more capable than demand planning when it comes to taking advantage of business opportunities in response to local events.

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market segmentation

Realizing Savings of 27% in Year for a CPG Company with the Help of Demand and Supply Analysis

Business Challenge 

The client, a leading CPG company in South America, was facing predicaments in effective supply and demand planning. With retailers increasingly producing and selling private label products and major competitors moving towards direct-to-consumer (D2C) models, the client, who continued to sell through distributors and retailers, faced challenges in creating best possible customer experience for end users. Also, complexities in their supply-demand planning, product development, sourcing, and production pressurized them to better manage inventory. With an appropriate demand and supply analysis, the client wanted to accurately manage product demands and fulfill customers’ demands seamlessly.

Is your inability to meet customers’ orders resulting in revenue losses for the company? Demand and supply analysis helps companies to thrive in today’s competitive market by identifying target stock levels to meet the rising market demands. Request a FREE Brochure to learn more about our demand and supply analysis solutions.

Solutions Offered and Value Delivered 

By examining historical sales data, product orders, shipments, and current sales, the experts at Infiniti Research helped the client to make smart decisions about inventory and production levels. Infiniti’s demand and supply analysis also helped the client to respond to dynamic market demand and focus on customer-centric metrics. By focussing on consumer-centric metrics, the client was able to increase adaptability to demand volatility. Our demand and supply analysis solution subsequently helped them plan inventory supply against demand and helped them to reduce the company’s inventory levels. Infiniti’s demand and supply analysis solution the client was able to improve return on inventory assets, reduce excess inventory, and meet customers’ delivery requirements.

With Infiniti’s demand and supply analysis, the client was able to achieve a 13% reduction on unfilled orders and increase demand forecast accuracy. This helped the company to realize savings of over 27% in a year.

Mismatch in demand and supply planning can result in excessive inventory costs. Is your company facing the same challenge? Our demand and supply analysis solutions have helped various companies reduce excess inventory and meet delivery requirements. Request a FREE proposal to know how our solution can help your business.

What is Supply and Demand Analysis? 

Demand and supply analysis is a type of supply chain management process that analyzes customers’ needs to determine the capabilities of the supply chain. With the right process in place, management can match supply with demand proactively and execute the plan with minimal disruptions. The demand and supply analysis process is not limited to forecasting. It includes synchronizing supply and demand, increasing flexibility, and reducing variability. If the demand outstrips resources, businesses can improve production or alert consumers about the revised shipment times. If demand seems low, the sales and marketing team might develop promotions or push for a product launch.

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