The technology's growth will impact procurement in coming years, said David Noble, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, by putting the purchasing of materials center stage.
"It means that a shift from manufacturing to materials acquisition becomes a core differentiator," he said at the CIPS Annual Conference in London.
Gartner said that even though market growth in the sector has slowed after an initial spurt, it was expecting more than 6.7m printers to be shipped by 2020. The research firm expects 3D printing uses to widen as new technology providers and processes emerge.
"Once a niche market, 3D printing has continued its rapid transformation into a broad-based mainstream technology embraced by consumers and enterprises around the world," said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner.
Enjoy curated articles directly to your inbox.