Research: strategic 3D printing in a city logistics context

Recently, 3D Printing (3DP) has started disrupting transportation worldwide by providing enormous simplifications to transportation requirements, especially in the context of city logistics. In the near future, the potential exists to replace multi-echelon transportation hubs with integrated city logistics and 3D printing manufacturing hubs. 

A study by Emrah Demir et. al. investigates this integrated concept, particularly for healthcare product distribution (i.e., hearing aids) to customers located within a city environment. The researchers propose an efficient mathematical model to investigate various scenarios of integrated 3DP production and transportation planning and provide insightful analysis.

It might seem counter-intuitive that tighter delivery time slots can improve the utilization of capacity and 3DP machines, but this study finds that intelligent selection of production and delivery policies can simultaneously benefit both customer and supplier. By integrating both production and delivery, this study identifies opportunities for firms to survive and thrive in the era of challenging city logistics.

Source: Emrah Demir, Daniel Eyers, Yuan Huang, Competing through the last mile: Strategic 3D printing in a city logistics context, Computers & Operations Research, Volume 131, 2021, 105248, ISSN 0305-0548

Picture: 3D Systems

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