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Jim Carlson
3D Systems Partnering with Link3D to Transform On Demand Operations

With today’s changing industrial landscape, organizations must design flexible supply chains to overcome labor shortages, materials and production capacity constraints. All the while, ensuring customer satisfaction, cost control and on-time delivery with their service bureau and contract manufacturing partners.That is why Materialise has launched its very own Vendor Management System (VMS) within its CO-AM software platform. The goal is to enable additive manufacturing organizations to unify and scale their supplier experience from initiation to delivery of production requests. 

What are top Additive Manufacturing use cases for VMS?

Organizations are leveraging Vendor Management Systems (VMS) to support different 3D printing programs. From streamlining capacity management across qualified partners to part screening, spare parts programs, Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) management across additive manufacturing, heat treatment and other auxilary processes: 

Outsourcing as an AM Manufacturing Strategy

As seen in every industry sector, often parts are designed in-house with the R&D team. Once parameters have been validated and qualified for production, select suppliers will be privy to producing parts on-demand for personalized parts and/or low-volume production. 

Digital Supply Chain Program

Organizations in various industries, including the oil & gas, maritime, construction and mining sectors are qualifying parts within their databases using Part screening software to evaluate what can be printed, and leveraging a Vendor Management System to determine who can fulfill the request within their supplier network.

Last-Mile Delivery via AM Distributed Manufacturing

As an increasing number of service bureaus, subcontractors and contract manufacturers are gaining additive manufacturing expertise worldwide, users of 3D printing technology can benefit from localized manufacturing and local closer to the end-user. This helps the value chain save cost and take advantage of improved delivery times while reducing CO2 emissions.

Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Programs

As seen in the aerospace sector to support Maintenance Repair and Overhaul programs, organizations are digitizing legacy, obsolete and next generation parts and storing them in digital catalogs, linking them to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems to integrate workflows with corporate supply chain. When a part is required for repair, requests can be made, and the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is queued via the ERP into the Vendor Management System, to be routed automatically to the right supplier.

Increase Capacity for Manufacturing Overflow

Relying solely on internal production facilities may put delivery dates at risk if machines are down, materials have expired, or employees are no longer able to come to work. Leverage trusted suppliers to take on production overflow without having to invest in additional capital equipment, materials and labor.

Outsourcing Post-Processing, Finishing & QC Processes

Organizations requiring additional services to finalize a part for production will often outsource to local suppliers, from: sending parts for heat treatment with a certified vendor, to outsourcing to laboratories for analyzing coupons for nondestructive testing (NDT), fatigue testing and macro examination. 
These are some of the use cases the industrial sector leverages additive manufacturing and subcontractors to support their business model(s).

Introducing CO-AM’s Vendor Management System
Materialise CO-AM’s Vendor Management System helps organizations control costs, improve time efficiencies and scale additive manufacturing workflows across the globe. VMS solutions include:
  • Unified CO-AM Digital Network facilities collaboration across internal and external supply chains
  • Resource Planning & Allocation across available suppliers when existing production facilities are at maximum capacity, or production capabilities are not available in-house
  • Vendor Selection Tool enables the ability to approve, track, rank and manage vendor list
  • End-to-End Data visibility of supplier status and relevant production data ensuring full traceability and help gain actionable insights
  • Integrated QMS system to track supplier Non-Conformance Reports (NCRs) and Corrective Action and Preventive Action (CAPA) to support continuous improvement programs
  • Integrated Digital Catalog to support part screening, tooling and end use part production programs between contract manufacturers and service providers
  • Maintain compliance for ITAR, Export Controlled and HIPAA requirements
If you’d like to learn more about Materialise CO-AM, visit
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