3D printing spare parts with Uncertain Demand

Why struggle with demand unpredictability when you can produce parts only when and where needed?

What is demand unpredictability?

Demand unpredictability is the degree to which an organization cannot anticipate or forecast demand and market trends.

What's the challenge?

With rising market volatility, globalization, trade disputes, natural disasters and other risks impacting the supply chain, it’s getting harder to forecast demand, especially for service and spare parts. The question supply chain professionals often ask is: how can I use my data to predict the demand of spare and legacy parts? Does it make sense to try to predict demand for spare parts in such a volatile environment? What of the resulting waste and high inventory costs that come with (over) stocking parts at the end of the manufacturing life cycle? Embedding additive manufacturing into the supply chain offers a better solution.

a solution to unpredictability in forecasting demand for spare parts

How can DiManEx help?

We help you respond to ad hoc challenges and solve immediate spare parts issues through our supply platform, which connects you to a network of Additive Manufacturing partners. We also enable you to take a more proactive approach by building a digital library you can tap into to produce spare parts on demand, thereby reducing your inventory costs and eliminating waste.

To get started, we ask you to provide Basic SKU Data, including:

  • An overview of legacy parts
  • Parts in service life time with low demand and long lead times
  • Parts with demand out of SLT
  • Parts in SLT where supplier is no longer active
  • How we helped Eurostar produce a spare part with unpredictable demand

    Eurostar, a high-speed railway service connecting several European cities, was looking to produce a part for its new coaches in aluminum, but given the low volume it required, no supplier was willing to take up the task. Eurostar’s trains were not allowed to run until the part was obtained. When used in combination with a padlock, the part prevents unauthorized people from entering cabins while service operators perform maintenance tasks. Eurostar worked with DiManEx to produce the part using plastic and rubber. The design took train differences into account, so it can be used in several coaches.

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    Addressing demand unpredictability in a volatile environment: learnings from the Dutch Army

    The Dutch Army needed to secure a winch roller for one of its combat vehicles, the Fennek. The winch roller guides the vehicle’s winch cable to the drum. Disruptions to this part are not typically expected, so predicting demand is difficult. Traditional suppliers have a high lead time and a minimum order quantity that would result in overstocking and eventual waste, but the vehicle cannot be used without the roller. The Army piloted the use of 3D printing with DiManEx to get a part replacement quickly without incurring excess stock.