Additive manufacturing is disrupting conventional production and construction supply chains as well as corporate real estate strategies. 3D printers are being gradually incorporated into building apartments and houses. A new eco-sustainable house model was introduced recently by the Italian company WASP. Using natural waste materials worth €900 and the Crane WASP printer, the company was able to build a house that has almost zero environmental impact in 10 days. 1
Exhibit 1: Advantages of 3D printing and additive manufacturing for real estate
Source: Kotter, J. (2011). Does corporate culture drive financial performance? Forbes. February 10, 2011.
As a result of 3D printing, a growing number of companies are bringing their production back to U.S. The sixteen companies that had announced, or already started, the largest reshoring initiatives will bring approximately 73,000 manufacturing jobs back to U.S., according to data by Reshoring Initiative.2
Another recent report by A. T. Kearney shows that U.S. manufacturers are still importing from traditional offshoring countries. Manufactured goods imports in 2017 increased by 8.0% y-o-y, outpacing the gross manufacturing output in U.S. which had grown by 5.6% y-o-y.3 It seems that as long as economic benefits of overseas production are not tampered by international trade tensions, U.S. companies will not retreat. Manufacturing is not yet at the same stage as the services sector, but automation is likely to accelerate the reshoring process when these low-skilled and labor-intensive jobs move back to the U.S. and become more accessible.
Exhibit 2: The largest reshoring initiatives in the U.S. by total jobs reshored (2010 to Q1 2018) and states benefiting
Source: USA Today, Reshoring Initiative