Improving effectiveness of spare parts supply by additive manufacturing as dual sourcing option

N. Knofius, M. C. van der Heijden, A. Sleptchenko, W. H.M. Zijm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Scopus citations


    The low-volume spare parts business is often identified as a potential beneficiary of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies. Currently, high AM unit costs or low AM part reliabilities deem the application of AM economical inferior to conventional manufacturing (CM) methods in most cases. In this paper, we investigate the potential to overcome these deficiencies by combining AM and CM methods. For that purpose, we develop an approach that is tailored toward the unique characteristics of dual sourcing with two production methods. Opposed to the traditional dual sourcing literature, we consider the different failure behavior of parts produced by AM and CM methods. Using numerical experiments and a case study in the aviation industry, we explore under which conditions dual sourcing with AM performs best. Single sourcing with AM methods typically leads to higher purchasing and maintenance costs while single sourcing with CM methods increases backorder and holding costs. Savings of more than 30% compared to the best single sourcing option are possible even if the reliability or unit costs of a part sourced with AM are three times worse than for a CM part. In conclusion, dual sourcing methods may play an important role to exploit the benefits of AM methods while avoiding its drawbacks in the low-volume spare parts business.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)189-221
    Number of pages33
    JournalOR Spectrum
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 2021


    • 3D printing
    • Digital manufacturing
    • Dual sourcing
    • Inventory
    • Spare parts


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