Competing through the last mile: Strategic 3D printing in a city logistics context

Emrah Demir, Daniel Eyers*, Yuan Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, 3D Printing (3DP) has started disrupting transportation worldwide by providing enormous simplifications to transportation requirements, especially in the context of city logistics. In the near future, the potential exists to replace multi-echelon transportation hubs with integrated city logistics and 3D printing manufacturing hubs. This study investigates this integrated concept, particularly for healthcare product distribution (i.e., hearing aids) to customers located within a city environment. We propose an efficient mathematical model to investigate various scenarios of integrated 3DP production and transportation planning and provide insightful analysis. It might seem counter-intuitive that tighter delivery time slots can improve the utilization of capacity and 3DP machines, but this study finds that intelligent selection of production and delivery policies can simultaneously benefit both customer and supplier. By integrating both production and delivery, this study identifies opportunities for firms to survive and thrive in the era of challenging city logistics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105248
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Early online date5 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • 3D printing
  • Healthcare
  • Last mile logistics
  • Operations research

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