Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

Events

The Future of Retail has landed.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

As co presenter of the 'Future Matters' series with the National Geographic Channel back in 2004, I discussed the idea of Rapid Prototyping or 3D Printing. At that stage, 3D printers were like very large office photocopiers and the better ones had starting prices of around $150,000. I stated that in the near future, people would be able to print out their own dinner sets in their own homes, by simply downloading a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program straight into their printer. A year or so later I presented to the Queensland Supply Chain & Logistics conference and showed them the new face of retail and manufacturing with a few examples. That face has arrived with the latest shift in 3D printing accessibility -

It would be fair to say that not everyone at the conference was pleased with what I said. I'd just shown them that manufacturing could be done in the home (examples were a vase, dinner plates, a high heeled shoe and some toys), that rather than shipping lots of good around, all that would be needed were standard plaster base or plastic base filaments which reduced the need for most retail stores and most trucking.

And then I offered them the out - because prices for units were still too high for most people to have one of their own, the INTERIM step would be 3D printer retail stores (like the photocopying place you go to now) that would have multiple machines in a retail setting, wherein the customer would browse a catalogue, select and pay for their chosen item and come back an hour or two later to pick it up. Minimal storage and warehousing needed; minimal shipping from overseas needed; few trucks on the road needed and almost NO retail shops needed.

And now the new phase of retail and manufacturing is here with the arrival of the Dreambox 3D vending machine. If you don't think the face of retail is going to change, you're simply not paying attention. 3D printing can now deal with multiple materials (fibre, plaster, plastics and metals - oh and of course human skin) and the machines are getting easier to use. The retail model means that manufacturers would only need to 'manufacture' 3D CAD programs. Yes they'd need to do a bit of testing but that's pretty much all. The consumer would create the product at the consumer's end.


See more events...

Keep informed - Sign up

Look ahead for your business - sign up for your exclusive updates.
name

email address

Events

Before I Was Me - thoughts on what aging might hold
Saturday 12 March 2022
Sometimes the words come to you readily and this small piece has me thinking about what I'd like to say at a time when maybe I've lost the cognitive ability to do so
Read more...
Why the Future of Vertical Farming is Two Decades Ahead of Expectations
Wednesday 2 February 2022
Like lab grown meats, Vertical Farming is going to be part of the future of food. For now it might be best to compare them to small scale battery storage on the electrical grid that can help balance out spikes of demand in the system and provide an output directly where needed.
Read more...
My Personal Experience of #Covid19 (thus far)
Saturday 15 January 2022
Five days ago I tested positive for Covid. Here's a bit of what the story has been like so far
Read more...