3D printing will revolutioninze many manufacturing sectors -- and kill off others. With consumer and semi-pro use of 3D printers exploding, and thus driving the cost of printing manufactured products down, it's worth asking -- how will "cheap and easy" 3D printing affect your products and your industry? Will you have to compete with your best customers?
A recent ExtremeTech post detailed how a member of the growing Maker community recently used a 3D printer to manufacture the main part (the lower receiver) of a .22 caliber pistol -- and then uploaded the schematic to a IP-sharing site.
As the article points out this is not the first highly-regulated industry to receive the first hints of disruption via additive manufacturing (known colloquially as 3D printing) -- a geek.com article describes research into home printing of pharmaceutical medications.
With use of MakerBots exploding, and thus driving the cost of rapid prototyping/manufacturing down, it's worth asking -- how will "cheap and easy" 3D printing affect your products and your industry?
The real question: Will you have to compete with your best customers? And, can you?
Better to ask the question now, than when you've got a (metaphorical) 3D-printed gun to your head. If I were a product manager in manufacturing, I'd go check Thingiverse and see what homebrew competitors are spinning up to stick you up for your revenue.