The impact of 3D printing on online shopping and the High Street has been massively underestimated, ParcelHero's David Jinks warns The Richmond Supply Chain Forum's Autumn Conference.
'3D printing will have a huge impact on our lives and on our High Streets,' ParcelHero's Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, told an audience of leading retailers and supply chain professionals at this week's Richmond Supply Chain Forum.
Detailing the impact of e-commerce on retail logistics at the key industry event - held this year at the Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire - David revealed that it will not only be home desk top 3D printers that transform how consumers receive their items, but that an entirely new type of 3D print store will also open on our High Streets within a decade.
Said David: 'Not only will small domestic 3D printers make possible the downloading and manufacturing of everything from spare parts and toys, to kitchen utensils and clothing; but stores with printers far larger than those in the home will open in the same way photo-copy shops sprang up 30 years ago.'
David told his audience of retail and logistics professionals that: '3D printing will bring the era of instant shopping gratification nearer for consumers. Already it's not just plastic items that can be printed; but metal 3D filaments are increasingly available to enable the download and manufacture tough, precise products in the home.'
And he predicted that larger stores will be able to print items too big for home printers on demand – leading to an entirely new retail sector on the High Street. 'These new 3D print stores will manufacture Items from car mudguards and exhaust systems, to tables, large garden statues, sheds – and even preformed 3D printed houses are already being produced in China.'
Says David: 'One significant upside will be that the growth of home printing will slash city centre traffic, as it will reduce home deliveries and store restocking. It will also mean far less stock will need to be held in warehouses and distribution centres, as items will be produced on demand.'
And David concluded: 'The boffins at Amazon have even have quietly patented technology that will enable trucks to print items en-route to customers; adding another plastic string to the 3D printing mix.'
And there are many more equally innovative developments on their way, according to Transport Intelligence Ltd's Chief Executive, John Manners Bell MSC FCILT. He revealed to Forum delegates significant new technological developments that will transform the retail supply chain – bringing both disruption and positive innovation to the retail industry.
The Richmond Supply Chain Forum is organised by Richmond Events.