On-demand Supply Chains and Moog’s VeriPart Project
Article by Tom Serres
Modern commerce relies on speed and immediacy. Consumers can now pick up their smartphone and place an order without ever having to stand up from their seat. Such speed strains supply chains – both B2B and B2C – trying to keep up with the frenetic pace.
Moog Inc., a global manufacturer of high-performance parts, recently launched a new service called VeriPart to address these dynamics. We did a nice case study on them in the Animal Ventures Asset Chains report recently. The new service is charged with refining metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) process and streamlining its particular supply chain needs. VeriPart strives to create an efficient logistical framework to leverage the rapidly expanding marketplace for 3-D printed, on-demand manufacturing.
On-demand Manufacturing Poses Particular Issues
Despite the potential held by 3D printing, the market is still too niche to rely on traditional production and inventory models for financial feasibility. As a result, Moog tasked its VeriPart project with creating an on-demand production capacity that is cost-efficient and secure.
Entirely reliant on digital communication and design, VeriPart also needs to establish a way to certify and authenticate the specific design files associated with their 3-D printed product line. Moog needs to create a system that allows them to track and validate all of their 3D printed products across the different stages of their life cycles. Since VeriPart operates outside of standard production lines and supply chains, they are unable to rely on traditional control processes but must invent new ones specifically for on-demand manufacturing and distribution.
New Parts, New Business
In addition to its technical undertaking, Moog needs to create a business model that finds value in on-demand supply chains. One where specialized parts aren’t manufactured and delivered according to their traditional supply chain but, instead, 3D printed on an as-needed basis.
Moog must also retain the value of their intellectual property held in their unique, specialized parts. Whenever proprietary designs are being purchased and distributed entirely through web delivery, Moog must ensure the integrity of their designs. Such integrity is vital for the safety and security of the end-user as well as protection from design theft.
Creating a New Decentralized Marketplace
The uniqueness of the project requires, in essence, the creation of an entirely new decentralized marketplace. Blockchain technology will securely verify transactions within that marketplace and deliver digital files while maintaining absolute trust in each participating party. Since the framework will consist of outside artisans and manufacturers that 3D print the parts, the new marketplace must also be adaptable and scalable while retaining security and reliability. Since aircraft manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies comprise a substantial portion of Moog’s client base, the blockchain-based framework must also satisfy significant regulatory requirements. Their trailblazing approach means they are inventing infrastructure as they go.
An Investment Worth Taking
Assuming Moog is successful with VeriPart, the company will have effectively positioned itself to dominate the metal additive manufacturing space. And eventually it will be able to expand the logistical framework to many other sectors and customer bases.
Blockchain technology is the foundation to all of the associated transactions and file deliveries. The framework significantly streamlines their administrative processes involved in supplying their highly regulated clientele. The on-demand nature of the manufacturing will reduce costs as well. The sunk costs involved with housing idle inventory will disappear as products become strictly made on an as-needed basis. Soon an autonomous, shared single supply chain, with on-demand manufacturing will become the new norm in commerce and society.