3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, can be a valuable tool for small business owners who are looking to reduce expenses and exploit their creativity. Thanks to the maturity of this technology, 3D printers have now become smaller, less expensive and easier to use. As a result, the transformation of ideas to tangible objects requires less time and money.
Companies that have a 3D printer on hand can use it to design and bring new products to market without having to go to third-party manufacturers. Additionally, by using this technology, businesses can produce customized products that are tailored to the needs of each individual customer.
With that being said, now is a fantastic time to consider the potential benefits 3D printing may bring to your business.
Want to Outshine Your Competition? Wow Your Customers with Unique Products
Modern customers value personalized products that are made to fit their lifestyles and preferences. In the past, creating a unique product for every customer required a lot of time and effort and usually resulted in higher prices. Now, with the help of 3D printing, your small business can engage in mass customization.
If you need to address the particular needs of the customer, you can do so simply by updating a single design and then printing it. As a result, the per-item cost of a custom design will remain constant.
Even if you can’t afford to buy a 3D printer you can still benefit from this technology. You can design your products and upload them to a third-party service that will print your products and ship them either to you or to your customer. Regardless of how you produce your goods, you have an unprecedented opportunity to satisfy your customers’ unique needs.
At the same time, 3D printing will give your business a chance to stand out from competitors. Such an advantage is just what your company needs to stay innovative and profitable despite the presence of large corporations that compete with more money and resources.
Don’t Have a Budget for Large Orders? No Problem
When working with a manufacturer, companies often must make advance payments, pay expensive setup fees and place large orders. Additionally, they can expect substantial delivery delays that result from crowded production schedules. By the time manufactured goods arrive at the inventory, businesses have made a substantial investment. 3D printing offers a much better alternative.
As a small business owner, you probably lack the necessary cash on hand to place large orders with manufacturers. Instead, you have the option of producing goods in small quantities, which will, in turn, minimize the cost of your inventory. In fact, by using 3D printing, you can eliminate the need to carry inventory by producing goods on demand.
Another benefit of using 3D printing rather than a traditional manufacturer is that you can quickly revise and improve your products without having to first exhaust your current production run. As a result, you can quickly resolve design flaws and respond to changes in consumer demand.
With a 3D printer, you can easily test new designs and create prototypes. Such a capacity allows you to quickly try new ideas and leverage trial-and-error to improve your product development process. In fact, the ability to produce goods in-house means that you can both shorten the time needed to launch a new product and improve its overall quality.
Need an Additional Income Stream? Consider Offering 3D Printing Services
3D printing may be great for your small business even if not used to produce goods for sale. As has been noted, the availability of 3D printing services eliminates the need to own a 3D printer. In the light of this, you can develop an additional income stream by offering 3D printing services.
Of course, to offer this type of service, you will need to own a reliable 3D printer and have a full grasp of the technology. You can, for example, join an online 3D printer pool that allows users to order items in any quantity through a web-based interface. Additionally, you can offer local 3D printing services, such as 3D photo printing or any other consumer oriented products to make your business a popular destination in your community.
In summary, with 3D printing technology, you have practically unlimited opportunities to use in your business. In fact, as you explore 3D printing business ideas, you might find that a hybrid approach works best for you. In such a scenario, using your 3D printer to produce customized goods while also offering a 3D printing service will yield far better results and set your business apart from the competitors.
Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer, coffee snob and a tech enthusiast from Aurora, Illinois. When she is not working, Heather enjoys swimming and hanging out with her friends.