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Implications of 3D Printing for the United States Postal Service

  • Samuel T. CuttingEmail author
  • Mark E. Meitzen
  • Brad P. Wagner
  • Christopher W. Backley
  • Charles L. Crum
  • Bryant Switzky
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Regulatory Economics and Policy book series (TREP, volume 50)

Abstract

3D printing refers to a set of technologies that builds physical objects from virtual representations. While approaches vary, these technologies process a digital model of an object into horizontal slices, like a loaf of bread standing on end. A 3D printer then iteratively prints each (nearly) two-dimensional slice, layer-by-layer, from the bottom up. By allowing physical objects to be created from virtual representations on demand, 3D printing could disrupt supply chains, warehousing, manufacturing, and the myriad industries that rely on them. These prognostications, however, assume technological advances and consumer acceptance not yet realized. It is not clear which businesses will have the problems and which will have the opportunities. The United States Postal Service® (USPS) stands to benefit from a major 3D disruption. The outcome for USPS depends upon the advancement of the technology, its adoption by consumers, and the strategies it takes to position itself to capture benefit or avoid injury. This paper provides a framework for considering potential outcomes for USPS should a 3D printing “revolution” occur.

Keywords

Supply Chain Retail Sale Fiscal Year Virtual Representation Package Volume 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Canalys. (2014). 3D printing market to grow to US$16.2 billion in 2018. http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/3d-printing-market-grow-us162-billion-2018
  2. Freedonia Group. (2013). World 3D printing To 2017. http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/272154-world-3d-printing-to-2017.html
  3. Manyika, J., Chui, M., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Bisson, P., & Marrs, A. (2013). Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy. McKinsey Global Institute. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/disruptive_technologies
  4. U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Estats report. http://www.census.gov//econ/estats/2011/all2011tables.html
  5. Vasagar, J. (2013). Rolls-Royce plans 3D printing for jet engine parts. Financial Times, Nov 13. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/95a7b560-4c80-11e3-923d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2n H07PlN9
  6. Wohlers Associates. (2014). Wohlers report 2014: 3D printing and additive manufacturing state of the industry. Fort Collins: Wohlers Associates.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel T. Cutting
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark E. Meitzen
    • 1
  • Brad P. Wagner
    • 1
  • Christopher W. Backley
    • 2
  • Charles L. Crum
    • 2
  • Bryant Switzky
    • 2
  1. 1.Christensen AssociatesMadisonUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector GeneralWashington, DCUSA

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