These concepts are not science fiction—they're in use at manufacturers today. One example is Quirky, the revolutionary social product development business that collaborates with more than 1 million "member-inventors" and has brought about 412 innovative consumer products to market.

Based in New York City, Quirky uses 3-D printing to prototype products, with large-scale production outsourced to contract manufacturers.

Quirky also uses cloud ERP.

The solution has given Quirky the agility, accessibility and scalability needed to help the company orchestrate complex business processes across a global network of citizen inventors, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and ecommerce.

"Velocity is the challenge for Quirky," said Tim Brindamour, Quirky Director of Systems. "[This system] allows us to really leverage our data and act on it very rapidly. It provides the flexibility we need to run an extremely agile business and outstanding data visibility to all our teams to drive the company forward."

3-D printing is already beginning to reshape how some manufacturers bring products to market, and more changes are on the way as the technology continues to mature and adoption rises.

By exploring the viability of a cloud environment for 3-D printing operations, manufacturers can take a first step towards future-proofing their businesses with the adaptability needed to take advantage of all that 3-D printing offers.

Quirky also uses cloud ERP.

The solution has given Quirky the agility, accessibility and scalability needed to help the company orchestrate complex business processes across a global network of citizen inventors, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and ecommerce.

"Velocity is the challenge for Quirky," said Tim Brindamour, Quirky Director of Systems. "[This system] allows us to really leverage our data and act on it very rapidly. It provides the flexibility we need to run an extremely agile business and outstanding data visibility to all our teams to drive the company forward."

3-D printing is already beginning to reshape how some manufacturers bring products to market, and more changes are on the way as the technology continues to mature and adoption rises.

By exploring the viability of a cloud environment for 3-D printing operations, manufacturers can take a first step towards future-proofing their businesses with the adaptability needed to take advantage of all that 3-D printing offers.


 

Gavin Davidson is a vertical market expert for manufacturing at NetSuite.