UPS beats USPS with Stratasys 3D printers
Back in July, the US Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General released a whitepaper titled If It Prints, It Ships: 3D printing and the Postal Service. In the whitepaper, the Inspector General made a bold statement: that 3D printing could potentially contribute to an additional $485 million in revenue for the USPS each year. Shortly after, research institute Brookings Institution wrote a blog post saying the USPS increase in revenue due to 3D printing would not be as significant as the postal service company had originally thought.
It seems like the USPS may have known that they were talking about. The UPS store, a wholly owned subsidiary of USPS direct competitor United Parcel Service (UPS), previously launched six 3D printers at six different locations across the country. The Stratasys uPrint SE Plus industrial 3D printers used by The UPS Store were launched as part of an intiaitive to offer 3D printing services in store at certain branches and test the results. Following the immense success of the initial launch, The UPS Store has officially announced it will be expanding its 3D printing services to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide.
The UPS Store says the expansion is largely due to the high demand for 3D printing services among small business owners. The company says that during the 2013 pilot program for the initiative, it received interest from startups, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists and a wide range of professionals. To better serve these clients, The UPS Store will add Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printers as well as 3D printing services to around 100 different UPS Store locations.
The company has documented many success stories of clients who used its services during the pilot program, including inventors who patented innovative product designs and entrepreneurs who prototyped an idea and successfully delivered a retail-ready product to market.
“We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs,” said Michelle Van Slyke, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at The UPS Store. “We launched the pilot to evaluate if there was demand for 3D print and we’re excited to be announcing an expansion, giving even more small business owners access to high-quality, professional 3D printing. We look forward to being a part of the future of the 3D printing industry.”
The UPS Store is the first nationwide postal retailer to offer 3D printers and printing services in store. USPS had such high hopes for the gains it could achieve from the 3D printing industry – maybe now that its direct competitor has attained such success will it consider actually implementing its ideas into actions.
For a full list of participating UPS Stores around the country, click here.
Shanie Phillips is a originally from the UK, but has spent many years in Singapore, the US and now Israel. In addition to writing for Inside3DP she writes for several news and innovation sites.