Alternative business strategies based on the comparison of modern and traditional manufacturing technologie
This dissertation was written as part of the Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) at the International Hellenic University. Additive Manufacturing technology has been evolving for several years. New material options, better processing speeds and greater autonomy are some of the characteristics of this technology that are still under research. However, in its current state, many commercially available 3D printers are competing with traditional manufacturing techniques in the fabrication of end-use products. In the current dissertation, Additive Manufacturing is compared with Injection Molding in terms of fabricating a plastic housing for a real-world company. In the first half of the dissertation, literature is reviewed regarding Additive Manufacturing, the opportunities and barriers that come with it, its application on various industries and its impact on supply chains. In the second half of the dissertation, a case under study is examined. First its existing production strategy based on Injection Molding is presented and afterwards, a number of alternative production strategies based on different Additive Manufacturing technologies are explored. A comparison is made in terms of Lead Time and Total Production Cost and finally, the findings are displayed. Some of the conclusions drawn from this research are that none of the Additive Manufacturing technologies is able yet to replace Injection Molding for medium- and high production volumes. However, as regards low-volume production, both Rapid Tooling and Rapid Manufacturing can offer a shorter Lead Time and a lower Total Production Cost, while offering also increased flexibility, reduced warehousing costs and the potential of adopting a mass customization business strategy.