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Wilderich Heising

The Boston Consulting Group

Surviving Disruption in Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a disruptive technology that changes the way we produce. But also the AM industry is disrupted and market leadership is up for grabs in the AM ecosystem. Equipment providers have traditionally dominated most aspects of the value chain, selling both printers and material. Today, other players are asserting themselves more strongly in their traditional roles and expanding into new roles, and new players are entering the market: The whole AM ecosystem is under disruption requiring each player to rethink its strategy on how to gain competitive advantage. Who wins the race will largely depend on individual companies’ decisions and actions like strategic partnerships. To develop offerings that are superior to those of competitors in meeting end users’ needs, players must think differently. Innovation is required not only for products and services, but also with respect to how companies compete. Equipment providers need to refocus or even redefine their strategy in order to maintain their strong positions in the value chain. Other players must rapidly climb the AM learning curve so as to achieve the wide variety of objectives required for market leadership. By defining a strategy tailored to its current value chain position, a company can improve and expand its offerings, thereby capturing the benefits of disruption while avoiding its hazards.


Wilderich is a Partner at the Boston Consulting Group. He is a core member of BCG's Innovation Center for Operations and very active in BCG's Industrial Goods and Consumer Products practice. His focus at BCG is on advanced manufacturing topics such as additive manufacturing/3D printing, digitalization and the Factory of the Future/Industry 4.0 as well as on manufacturing strategy and network optimization. He joined BCG in 2006 after graduating in from Darmstadt University of Technology with a masters degree in industrial/mechanical engineering. He holds a PhD in engineering from Technical University of Berlin.


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