"we exemplarily constructed four extreme scenarios by selecting the two projections which showed the lowest level of consensus among the experts (both have an interquartile range of 4.0): the impact of additive manufacturing on firm's business models (Projection 8) and on consumer distribution channels (Projection 12). We built two development continuums, spanning between the trajectories expressed by these two projections. Fig. 6 illustrates the scenario axes and resulting scenarios. The qualitative expert comments helped us characterize the resulting scenarios in more detail.
The horizontal axis derives from Projection 8: For those experts who agree on it, additive manufacturing can be regarded as just another production technology requiring novel knowledge and skills, but mainly improving the operational excellence of a company. While some operations may change drastically, the operating model of the company will remain the same. For those rejecting this projection, however, established business models will be disrupted by additive manufacturing, demanding incumbents to make radical changes.
The vertical axis builds on Projection 12, which covers one of the most frequently debated implications of additive manufacturing. The experts believing in this projection foresee a strong change in consumer behavior: Instead of acquiring physical products, consumers will utilize online databases to download product designs for self-printing, either purchasing the file (similar to downloading a music file in an online music store) or using a sharing model with open-source designs. Experts rejecting this projection, however, expect that also in 2030, products produced via additive manufacturing will be purchased as physical objects via established online or offline channels.
Combining these two axes, we derive four possible scenarios. The extreme Scenario 1 combines the exploitation model with a new distribution model. Here, a company uses the efficiency of selling online files instead of exporting products to test new foreign markets, but also to cover niches of demand in established regions. Once a market is established, however, the products will be sold via a conventional business model (moving to Scenario 3). Scenario 2 combines the two extreme positions of an exploration strategy with a distribution model via online file-sharing. In this model, the business model of the company shifts fundamentally. A former manufacturer becomes a pure “designer” (providing the digital print files only). The core job of the company here is to guarantee the “3D printability” of the files. For its revenue model, it has to utilize new forms of intellectual property protection to allow for value capture.[Moi ici: E qual a vantagem de ser empresa?]
Scenario 3 is the most conservative setup where additive manufacturing is mainly used to support an established business. The case of spare parts, as discussed before, can be placed here. Another option is to utilize additive manufacturing for the manufacture of niche products which are not economically feasible with conventional manufacturing models. Finally, Scenario 4 builds on the idea of mass customization, i.e. providing an individual product for every consumer, but with mass production efficiency. The business model of the company, hence, shifts drastically. Instead of forecasting product demand and producing it on stock, all operational activities are purely reactive, staring with the individual demand of each single customer."