Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

3D printing services: classification, supply chain implications and research agenda

Rogers, Helen; Baricz, Norbert; Pawar, Kulwant S.


Helen Rogers

Norbert Baricz

Kulwant S. Pawar


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify and classify the available types of 3D printing services, with the scope of determining the potential implications that such services could have on the supply chains of manufacturing firms and creating a research agenda for future studies.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors review the current literature on the potential supply chain impacts of 3D printing and evaluate the 3D printing services provided by 404 firms in selected European markets.
Findings: The results show that 3D printing services form a rapidly evolving industry, with new service providers entering the market on a regular basis. Evidence from the European markets investigated suggests that services can be classified into three distinct categories: generative, facilitative and selective services.
Research limitations/implications: This paper represents an attempt to take stock of a fastmoving and potentially paradigm-shifting market. The implications are dynamic as new applications, business models and techniques are continually being developed. Further studies are required to substantiate the findings.
Practical implications: Three categories of 3D printing services that could significantly impact supply chain configurations of the future are proposed. Several issues specific to 3D printing services raised in the research agenda require further scrutiny and substantiation before services can reach their full potential.
Originality/value: This paper provides an overview of the growing 3D printing services industry, highlighting how the market might change as additive manufacturing technology matures.


Rogers, H., Baricz, N., & Pawar, K. S. (2016). 3D printing services: classification, supply chain implications and research agenda. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 46(10),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 3, 2016
Publication Date Oct 13, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Electronic ISSN 0960-0035
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 10
Keywords Supply chains, 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, 3D printing services, Glocalized production, Rapid prototyping
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations