Over the last 20-years, I have helped numerous companies to develop the business case for investment in AM/3DP hardware, software, facilities, and people. No two applications are ever the same, unlike the factors which must be considered, which are always the same. Namely, how will AM/3DP contribute towards either topline revenue growth or bottom-line profitability, and how will you achieve the fastest return on investment with the least risk?
With topline revenue growth, the drivers are all about product innovation and how AM/3DP can be used to manufacture better, more innovative, and higher-value products that meet and exceed customer expectations. With bottom-line growth, it’s all about productivity and using AM/3DP to address the different wastes associated with lean manufacturing.
Once a company can position AM/3DP against these primary business benefits, they then need to consider the cost implications of technology adoption, which is where experience and insight come into play. Knowing where the hidden costs of AM/3DP are, and the potential pitfalls can help companies to accelerate their adoption with minimal risk. But knowing where the costs are and what those risks might be is difficult if you are new to AM/3DP.
This problem has not gone unnoticed by government agencies trying to support the adoption of AM/3DP. I was approached in early 2019 for a solution by the UK Government agency UK Research & Innovation and the British Standards Institute (BSI).
The request was simple “Phil, can you write a document that provides a common framework, for building and assessing the business case for investment in AM/3DP.”
Working with BSI & UKRI, I pulled together an industry steering group representing a cross-section of experienced AM/3DP technology users from different sectors, along with machine vendors, financial institutions, industry bodies, trade groups, and regulators. We then developed and agreed on a framework, which considers the business benefits, functional and people implications, risks, and supply chain disruption that AM/3DP presents. Our goal was to write a document that could be used by both company finance directors and CFO’s along with those people looking to secure finance from their senior management. In effect, a ‘common framework’ for AM/3DP technology evaluation and adoption.
After over 12-months of collaboration, I am delighted to say that the first draft of BSI PAS6001 will be made available for public consultation in June 2020, with full publication planned later in the years.