Guest entry – Additive Manufacturing

Today’s guest entry is by MBA participant, Sean Coyle (British/Irish/Israeli). His team members from the ICP are Elena (French/Moldovian), Charlotte (German), Cindy (Mexican/Guinean) and Fouad (Lebanese/Canadian) with Faculty support by IMD Professor of Strategy, Xavier Gilbert (French). 

Our team has been tasked by the ICP client to understand the additive manufacturing industry (a.k.a. 3D printing) and to figure out how to make money out of it.

Additive manufacturing has many advantages – make impossible shapes; and produce small volumes faster and cheaper than making an entire production line. However, the very fact that scale does not confer an advantage is the very reason why it is so difficult to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

The team was invited by the client to their site where they have all the printers and experts to design things to print. Unless you see the printers working and the type of products that they can make, it’s pretty hard to imagine just how disruptive this technology can be. Components with complex internal shapes and moving parts can be created as one whole piece.

It’s incredibly exciting and challenging to see these amazing new technologies and the very real business challenges that stand in the way of really monetising them. To be tasked with trying to look down the line to what the ecosystem looks like when 3D printing is fully integrated into manufacturing and design is daunting but thrilling.

Sean