One subject I have been covering with my groups when teaching the Emerging Themes unit in the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma is 3D printing – it is a really fascinating technology which will potentially allow us all to make products tailored to our own specification, potentially an exact fit for our own hand or similar depending upon the product being made – see for some information about how we can use this technology at home. From a marketing perspective this has massive implications for appropriate products, and the way they are marketed in the future, organisations may only be involved in product design and promotion with the customer taking responsibility for manufacture themselves, cutting out physical distribution channels as designs can be sent electronically.

The technology is now being adopted commercially for short run production and is bringing great benefits in terms of material and weight saving in components for aircraft and F1 race cars. It seems the current issue is that the process is slow so not appropriate for mass manufacture, but this could all change as technology develops. There was an interesting article about it in the motoring magazine, evo, recently – see this link –

16-2-11 – As an add on to this, there is an interesting article in The Economist this week covering 3D printing –