SAPSome big news broke a couple of days ago when UPS announced that they would be extending their on-demand 3D printing services to Singapore with the help of their partner Fast Radius. The announcement marked the expansion of a program begun earlier in the year by UPS and supply chain company SAP, combining the former’s logistics solutions and growing additive manufacturing services with the latter’s Internet of Things expertise and extended supply chain capabilities.

The initiative is an appealing one for many companies, who can significantly reduce their inventories by taking advantage of the on-demand system. Through the program, a customer can order a part from UPS, which will 3D print it and ship it within a mere 24 hours, virtually eliminating the need for participating companies to carry back stock. UPS and SAP, which is helping to facilitate the on-demand service, have stated that they plan to make the service available in the first quarter of 2017.

Now UPS and SAP are opening up the project to multiple companies who will act as co-innovators in the early stages. These initial customers will act as beta testers of a sort, helping SAP to test, validate and improve the new system as necessary – while being the first to benefit from the reduced inventories, shorter, more cost-effective prototype and production runs, fast delivery, and 3D printing capabilities the program offers.

Cape Town, South Africa --- Box on conveyor belt in shipping area --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

Companies began signing on to the project earlier this summer, with early collaborators including Fast Radius, APWorks and HP. HP has already shown themselves to be highly invested in co-innovation as a business model; when they announced the development of their Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer earlier this year, they also revealed that they would be enlisting the help of multiple collaborators to further develop and improve the machine.

hp-logo-480x480“The successful transition of 3D printing from prototyping to manufacturing requires integration with business IT systems. HP understands the importance of end-to-end integration to maximize efficiency and technology adoption and is joining the SAP co-innovation program to help bring this to life,” said Scott Schiller, vice president, 3D market development, HP. “Powered by HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, HP delivers a manufacturing-ready solution for end-part production as well as an open software platform to connect to business IT systems. With leadership from SAP and collaboration with other innovators in the industry, 3D printing will more quickly move into mainstream manufacturing and streamline supply chains.”

Additional early-stage customers include:

“SAP and UPS are leading the way with their distributed manufacturing solution,” said Rick Smith, co-founder and CEO, Fast Radius. “This is a critical component that enables Fast Radius to realize its vision of a globally distributed network for on-demand manufacturing.”

3dups

This week, at the SAP TechEd Conference, SAP announced that they are opening up the early-adopters program to other interested companies. Businesses interested in the service can find out more about its benefits – as well as how to sign up as early adopters – at a new website launched yesterday.

“SAP Distributed Manufacturing can enable unprecedented opportunities to revolutionize design, manufacturing, logistics processes and business models,” said Hans Thalbauer, senior vice president, extended supply chain, SAP. “We are bringing together the innovative power of our customers and partners with SAP in this exciting next phase of our initiative to extend our reach and enable our vision for digital manufacturing.”

Registration for the early adopters program is open until January 2017, and companies from around the globe are welcome to sign up. SAP TechEd 2016, which is currently taking place in Las Vegas, will be continuing until Friday. Discuss further in the UPS & SAP Beta 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

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