3D Printing as Driver of Localized Manufacturing: Expected Benefits from Producer and Consumer Perspectives

Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


Ihl and Piller address the promise of 3D printing technologies to re-localize production in closer proximity to markets and end customers by exploring microeconomic benefits for producers and consumers. These technologies give rise to new possibilities at the intersection of production and consumption and fuel recent trends like mass customization and the maker movement. Building upon these premises, the authors propose the concept of “FabStores”, i.e. decentralized, close-to-market mini-factories that allow interaction with customers during localized manufacturing processes. The concept is validated in terms of expected benefits from producer and consumer perspectives by the means of a survey of 39 experts in production management, as well as 788 consumers. Results show that, from a producer perspective, the availability of 3D printing technologies alone will only have limited impact on the localization of manufacturing next to other, more important drivers. From a consumer perspective, “FabStores” are valuable if they can offer higher sustainability, participation in production and shorter delivery times. Finally, “FabStores” may compensate for a lack of brand reputation and thus offer new opportunities for user and maker entrepreneurship.


Success Factor Purchase Intention Technology Acceptance Model Discrete Choice Experiment Retail Store 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anderson, E. W., & Shugan, S. M. (1991). Repositioning for changing preferences: The case of Beef versus Poultry. The Journal of Consumer Research, 18, 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldwin, C., Hienerth, C., & von Hippel, E. (2006). How user innovations become commercial products: A theoretical investigation and case study. Research Policy, 35(9), 1291–1313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berman, B. (2012). 3-D printing: The new industrial revolution. Business Horizons, 55(2), 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, L. L., Seiders, K., & Grewal, D. (2002). Understanding service convenience. Journal of Marketing, 66(3), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowyer, A., Bradshaw, S., & Haufe, P. (2010). The intellectual property implications of low-cost 3D printing. SCRIPTed, 7(1), 5–31.Google Scholar
  6. Buzacott, J. A., & Yao, D. D. (1986). Flexible manufacturing systems: A review of analytical models. Management Science, 32(7), 890–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandler, A. D. (1990). Scale and scope: The dynamics of industrial capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Childers, T. L., Carr, C. L., Peck, J., & Carson, S. (2001). Hedonic and utilitarian motivations for online retail shopping behavior. Journal of Retailing, 77(4), 511–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corey, R. E. (1978). Should companies centralize procurement? Harvard Business Review, 82(2), 102–110.Google Scholar
  10. Cuhls, K., Ganz, W., Warnke, P. (Eds.) (2009). Foresight-Prozess im Auftrag des BMBF. Zukunftsfelder neuen Zuschnitts. Auszug ProduzierenKonsumieren 2.0.Google Scholar
  11. D’Aveni, R. (2015). The 3D printing revolution. Harvard Business Review, 40–48.Google Scholar
  12. Dabholkar, P. A., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2002). An attitudinal model of technology-based self-service: Moderating effects of consumer traits and situational factors. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(3), 184–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dellaert, B. G. C., & Dabholkar, P. A. (2009). Increasing the attractiveness of mass customization. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 13(3), 43–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eaton, B. C., & Schmitt, N. (1994). Flexible manufacturing and market structure. American Economic Review, 84(4), 875–888.Google Scholar
  15. El Maraghy, H. (2005). Flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems paradigms. International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems, 17(4), 261–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eppen, G. D. (1979). Effects of centralization on expected costs in a multi-location newsboy problem. Management Science, 25(5), 498–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Feen, J. (2007). Understanding Gartner’s hype cycles. Gartner research, ID Number: G00144727.Google Scholar
  18. Feitzinger, E., & Lee, H. L. (1997). Mass customization at Hewlett-Packard: The power of postponement. Harvard Business Review, 75(1), 116–121.Google Scholar
  19. Franke, N., & Schreier, M. (2010). Why customers value mass-customized products: The importance of process effort and enjoyment. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 27(12), 1020–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Franke, N., & Piller, F. (2004). Value creation by toolkits for user innovation and design: The case of the watch market. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21(6), 401–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Franke, N., Keinz, P., & Steger, C. (2009). Testing the value of customization: When do customers really prefer products tailored to their preferences? Journal of Marketing, 73(5), 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Franke, N., Schreier, M., & Kaiser, U. (2010). The “I designed it myself” effect in mass customization. Management Science, 56(1), 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Franke, N., Keinz, P., & Schreier, M. (2008). Complementing mass customization toolkits with user communities: How peer input improves customer self-design. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 25(6), 546–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frohlich, M. T., & Dixon, J. R. (2001). A taxonomy of manufacturing strategies revisited. Journal of Operations Management, 19(5), 541–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gebler, M., Uiterkamp, A. J. S., & Visser, C. (2014). A global sustainability perspective on 3D printing technologies. Energy Policy, 74, 158–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gibson, I., Rosen, D., & Stucker, B. (2009). Additive manufacturing technologies: Rapid prototyping to direct digital manufacturing. New York/Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  27. Harhoff, D., Henkel, J., & von Hippel, E. (2003). Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: How users benefit by freely revealing their innovations. Research Policy, 32(10), 1753–1769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hopkinson, N., Hague, R. J. M., & Dickens, P. M. (Eds.). (2006). Rapid manufacturing. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Huffman, C., & Kahn, B. E. (1998). Variety for sale: Mass customization or mass confusion? Journal of Retailing, 74(4), 491–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ihl, J. C. (2009). Marketing for mass customization—consumer behavior and marketing policies in the context of customizable products. Dissertation, 1–230.Google Scholar
  31. Jarkas, A. M. (2010). Critical investigation into the applicability of the learning curve theory to rebar fixing labor productivity. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 136(12), 1279–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jung, H. (2007). Controlling. München, Oldenbourg: Wissenschaftsverlag.Google Scholar
  33. Kleer, R., & Piller, F. (2013). Modeling benefits of local production by users: Welfare effects of radical innovation in flexible manufacturing utilizing additive manufacturing and 3D printing (Arbeitspapier).Google Scholar
  34. Lee, B.-C., Ang, L., & Dubelaar, C. (2005). Lemons on the web: A signalling approach to the problem of trust in internet commerce. Journal of Economic Psychology, 26(5), 607–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lindemann, U. (2009). Methodische Entwicklung technischer Produkte—Methoden flexibel und situationsgerecht anwenden. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Loch, C., Terwiesch, C., & Thomke, S. (2001). Parallel and sequential testing of design alternatives. Management Science, 47(5), 663–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lu, R. F., Petersen, T. D., & Storch, R. L. (2009). Asynchronous stochastic learning curve effects in engineering-to-order customization processes. International Journal of Production Research, 47(5), 1309–1329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mellor, S., Hao, L., & Zhang, D. (2014). Additive manufacturing: A framework for implementation. International Journal of Production Economics, 149, 194–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Milgrom, P., & Roberts, J. (1990). The economics of modern manufacturing: Technology, strategy, and organization. The American Economic Review, 80(3), 511–528.Google Scholar
  40. Miller, J. G., & Roth, A. V. (1994). A taxonomy of manufacturing strategies. Management Science, 40(3), 285–304.Google Scholar
  41. Mohr, L. A., & Bitner, M. J. (1995). The role of employee effort in satisfaction with service transactions. The Journal of Business Research, 32(3), 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Peck, J., & Shu, S. B. (2009). The effect of mere touch on perceived ownership. The Journal of Consumer Research, 36(3), 434–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peck, J., & Wiggins, J. (2006). It just feels good: Customers’ affective response to touch and its influence on persuasion. The Journal of Marketing, 70(4), 56–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Petrovic, V., Gonzalez, J., Ferrando, O., Gordillo, J., Puchades, J., & Grinan, L. (2011). Additive layered manufacturing: Sectors of industrial application shown through case studies. International Journal of Production Research, 49(4), 1071–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Piller, F. T. (2004). Mass customization: Reflections on the state of the concept. International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems, 16(4), 313–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rawsthrone, A. (2013, Jan 1). In the new year, products with personal touch. The New York Times (International Edition).Google Scholar
  47. Reeves, P. (2008). How the socio-economic benefits of Rapid Manufacturing can be used to off-set the technological limitations. In R. Hague (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Additive Manufacturing. Loughborough University.Google Scholar
  48. Reeves, P. (2012). Putting 3D printing into your value stream. Presentation Outline, 3D Printshow 2012, London, Oct 19, 2012.Google Scholar
  49. Reichwald, R., Piller, F. T., Stotko, C. M., & Ihl, J. C. (2005a). Marktnahe Produktion individueller Produkte in dezentralen Mini-Fabriken. In B. Kaluza & T. Blecker (Eds.), Erfolgsfaktor Flexibilität—Strategien und Konzepte für wandlungsfähige Unternehmen (pp. 175–202). Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag.Google Scholar
  50. Reichwald, R., Stotko, C. M., & Piller, F. T. (2005b). Distributed mini-factory networks as a form of real-time enterprise: Concept, flexibility potential and case studies. In B. Kuglin & H. Thielmann (Eds.), The practical real-time enterprise—Facts and perspectives (pp. 407–438). Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  51. Reinhart, G., Effert, C., Grunwald, S., Piller, F., & Wagner, W. (2000). Minifabriken für die marktnahe Produktion. Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb, 95(12), 597–600.Google Scholar
  52. Salvador, F., De Holan, P. M., & Piller, F. (2009). Cracking the code of mass customization. MIT Sloan Management Review, 50(3), 71–78.Google Scholar
  53. Schwenk, J., & Thyroff, A. (2011). Chancen und Risiken des Global Sourcing: ein Ratgeber für kleine und mittlere Unternehmen– kurz und kompakt. Laichingen/Hamburg: Books on Demand GmbH.Google Scholar
  54. Seiders, K., Voss, G. B., Godfrey, A. L., & Grewal, D. (2007). SERVCON: Development and validation of a multidimensional service convenience scale. The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35, 144–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shah, S., Smith, S., & Reedy, E. (2012). Who are user entrepreneurs? findings on innovation, founder characteristics, and firm characteristics. Kansas City, MO: Kauffman Foundation.Google Scholar
  56. Shah, S. K., & Tripsas, M. (2007). The accidental entrepreneur: The emergent and collective process of user entrepreneurship. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 1(1), 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Silberston, A. (1972). Economies of scale in theory and practice. The Economic Journal, 82(325), 369–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Skinner, W. (1969). Manufacturing: Missing link in corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review, 47(3), 136–144.Google Scholar
  59. The Economist (2011, February 10). Print me a Stradivarius: How a new manufacturing technology will change the world. The Economist.Google Scholar
  60. The Economist (2012, April 21). A third industrial revolution. The Economist, p. 45.Google Scholar
  61. Thomas, H. R., Mathews, C. T., & Ward, J. G. (1986). Learning curve models of construction productivity. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 112(2), 245–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Train, K. (2009). Discrete choice methods with simulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tumbleston, J. R., Shirvanyants, D., Ermoshkin, N., Janusziewicz, R., Johnson, A. R., Kelly, D., et al. (2015). Continuous liquid interface production of 3D objects. Science, 347(6228), 1349–1352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Van Hoeck, R. I., Commandeur, H. R., & Vos, B. (1998). Reconfiguring logistics systems through postponement strategies. The Journal of Business Logistics, 19(1), 33–54.Google Scholar
  65. Vance, A. (2012, April 26). 3D Printers: Make whatever you want. Bloomberg Business Week.Google Scholar
  66. Venkatesh, V., & Davis, F. D. (2000). A theoretical extension of the technology acceptance model: Four Longitudinal field studies. Management Science, 46(2), 186–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. von Hippel, E. (1994). “Sticky information” and the locus of problem solving: Implications for innovation. Management Science, 40(4), 429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. von Hippel, E. (2001). Perspective: User toolkits for innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18(4), 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  70. von Hippel, E., Ogawa, S., & Jong, J. D. (2011). The age of the consumer-innovator. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(1), 27–35.Google Scholar
  71. Williamson, O. E. (1981). On the nature of the firm: Some recent developments. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 137(4), 675–680.Google Scholar
  72. Wittke, V. (1996). Wie entstand die industrielle Massenproduktion? Berlin: edition Sigma.Google Scholar
  73. Wohlers, T. (2012). Wohlers report 2012: Additive manufacturing state of the industry annual worldwide progress report. Fort Collins, CO: Wohlers Associates.Google Scholar
  74. Yang, B., Burns, N., & Backhouse, C. (2004). Postponement: A review and an integrated framework. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 24(5), 468–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zangemeister, C. (1976). Nutzwertanalyse in der Systemtechnik—Eine Methodik zur multidimensionalen Bewertung und Auswahl von Projektalternativen (Dissertation). München: Wittemannsche Buchhandlung.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TUHH Institute of EntrepreneurshipHamburg University of TechnologyHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Technology and Innovation Management, Research Area Technology, Innovation, Marketing & EntrepreneurshipRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations