Excuse the shameless plug for the FutureWorld Group here, but this is a fascinating little scenario. With all the Stamps.com ads I'm hearing on international podcasts, it's pretty evident that the world of the Post Office is under serious disruption. And we've always been looking for a mainstream application for 3D printing.
What do you do with a business that has a massive footprint and an archaic product/service offering? A business mashup. What do you think?
They're becoming high-tech 3D print shops
Five years ago everyone was predicting the collapse of postal services from Argentina to Zimbabwe. After all, the use of 'snailmail' had dwindled to a trickle and postal services were incurring massive losses.
So who would have believed a bold leap by PostPrint, the newly-renamed postal service of Holland, would change that future?
Lead by the Dutch example, postal services all over the world are running 3D printing centers in their 'post offices', backed by high-speed local delivery of the goods people order online.
"We realized our core strengths were a nation-wide branch network, high public trust and excellent local logistics - we have postal vans running all over the country," says PostPrint CEO Joost de Boer.
"So we've turned every old post office into a high-tech 3D printing shop where we rapidly produce pretty much whatever people order - and then we deliver the finished product, often with two hours."
More than 20% of retail products, from kitchen appliances to shoes and smartphones, are now made through 'additive manufacturing' or 3D printing as it is commonly known. PostPrint were quick off the mark in recognizing this trend. Now their example is being followed all over the world - breathing new life into what was a dying business.
"What FutureWorld told us is true," says De Boer. "If you understand the future, you can design and create the future you want!"
Published 6 December 2012. Read more MindBullets here.