Volume 13 Number 12 - December 8, 2015


Control over your sold product is about to end unless you act now.

Additive manufacturing is a double-edged sword that impacts every manufacturer. While it enables rapid inexpensive product development and designs that couldn't be manufactured using existing technologies, it also allows millions of people around the world to easily replicate your parts or product without your knowledge.

As a result, intellectual property (IP) challenges are exploding. Supply chain challenges are exploding. Opportunities to drastically improve, or lose completely, your service parts business are exploding. Warranty cost management demands are exploding.

Act now:

  1. Define your 3-D controls strategy for for quality, outsourcing, service parts, warranty, and IP protection.
  2. Design IP controls into important parts to complicate unauthorized 3-D printing.
  3. Strictly control digital parts files, internally and externally. Emailing these is like emailing your social security number. Allowing suppliers to share these is inviting fraud. Sending files to get multiple quotes is akin to posting on Facebook.
  4. Communicate the risks and your prevention actions to customers. Some may want to save money, but most want fast authentic service parts. Consider creating controlled additive manufacturing capability near remote customer enclaves.
  5. Implement warranty processes that work well for legitimate requests and identify illicit ones.

Illegitimate use of 3-D printing will make identify theft seem scarce and benign by comparison. Contact me when you are ready to get prepared and to discuss the criteria in determining whether to respond to counterfeits or not, and when to call the cops.

The Starting Pistol

Robert Quillen:
"Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first base.”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"No great base runner operates out of fear; nor does any great business. Manage risks and head for second."

December 8-9, 2015: NY, NY: Innovation is important to every company, but not every company understands how to think about it, how to do it, or how to manage it. The Chief Innovation Officer Summit can help you answer those questions.

January 24-25, 2016: Brussels, Belgium: Packaging is protection, marketing, handling, costly and environmentally challenging. The Global Packaging Summit is designed to provide state-of-the-art information to help you master all those challenges, and more.

February 17-18, 2016: Salt Lake City, UT: One of the best cultures and manufacturers in the United States, O. C. Tanner, is opening their doors to executives and managers of companies that want to learn how to create A Lean Transformation That Never Stops Improving. This E&Y Master Entrepreneur of the Year winner will share strategy, key tools, and coaching to enhance employee participation.

April 12-14, 2016: Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business presents its 4th annual Leading Through Excellence Summit. Join your peers in this opportunity to learn. Keynotes, breakout sessions, and simulations are augmented by workshops and plant tours.

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