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Paul T Kidd's Rapid Prototyping Technologies Pages

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Report Warns About Hidden Cost of Prototyping

Report Warns About Hidden Cost of Prototyping


The following article by Paul T. Kidd appeared in Automotive International, Issue 41, July/August, 1997


London - Rapid prototyping technologies should be viewed as enablers of new business strategies, according to a new management report.

The report concludes that companies should be looking at fundamental issues and addressing how they can apply the technologies to support expansion into new markets, to increase market share, differentiate from competitors, modify the basis of competition and develop more innovative products.

Given the high capital costs of some rapid prototyping machines, especially the larger ones, and the hidden costs such as maintenance agreements, organizational changes, CAD system upgrades, etc, these innovative applications are probably very important to the successful and cost effective use of the technologies.

It may be the case that rapid prototyping will only be seen as financially viable when these wider potential benefits are taken into account.

Rapid prototyping technologies are very flexible, being both relevant to supporting new product development as well as manufacturing. The technologies are also in a state of flux, with new developments appearing on a fairly regular basis. Because of this they pose some unusual difficulties to potential users.

Before investing in these technologies, strategic, technical and organizational issues should be examined to gain a better understanding of costs and benefits.

The process used to evaluate and implement the technologies needs to be responsive to the continuing technological change occurring in this field, and technologies and organizational structures selected and implemented so that they can be easily reconfigured to accommodate new developments.

The strategic, organizational, cost/benefit and implementation issues surrounding rapid prototyping are explored in detail in the report. For further details contact Paul T Kidd


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