Talking Shop

Alan Wragg

Alan Wragg
Category Technical Director for Tesco

Alison Horner

Alison Horner
Chief People Officer

Amanda Sankey

Amanda Sankey
Product Development Manager

Andrew Boyle

Andrew Boyle
Development Project Manager

Andrew Yaxley

Andrew Yaxley
CEO Ireland

Angela Porter

Angela Porter
Head of Brand Advertising

Anuradha Chandra

Anuradha Chandra
Programme Specialist, UNICEF UK

Barbara Young

Barbara Young
Chief Executive, Diabetes UK

Beatrice Forrester

Beatrice Forrester
Trainee Buyer

Benny Higgins

Benny Higgins
CEO Tesco Bank and Group Strategy Director

Carmel McConnell

Carmel McConnell
Magic Breakfast Founder

Chris Monticolombi and Taiwo Omisore

Chris Monticolombi and Taiwo Omisore
Members of our Young People’s Panel

Dan Jago

Dan Jago
Group Wine Director

Georg Fischer

Georg Fischer
CEO Tesco Malaysia

Hannah Cornick

Hannah Cornick
Head of Opportunities for Young People

Helen Dwyer

Helen Dwyer
Buying Manager

James Stephen

James Stephen
Aberdeenshire TSDG dairy farmer and Committee Chairman

Jill Easterbrook

Jill Easterbrook
Group Business Transformation Director

John Christie

John Christie
CEO Tesco Lotus

Judith Nelson

Judith Nelson
UK Personnel Director

Karen Tonks

Karen Tonks
Tesco Company Nutritionist

Kelcey Hwang

Kelcey Hwang
Team Leader - Corporate Social Responsibility Team of Tesco Homeplus

Kevin Doherty OBE

Kevin Doherty OBE
Project Director Group Processes

Laura Carter

Laura Carter
Service Manager, Manchester Metro

Laura Jewell

Laura Jewell
Product Development Manager

Linda Cregan

Linda Cregan
CEO, Children’s Food Trust

Lindsay Boswell

Lindsay Boswell
CEO FareShare

Luke Hickton

Luke Hickton
Innovation Team

Mark Little

Mark Little
Head of Food Waste Reduction

Martina Milburn CBE

Martina Milburn CBE
CEO of The Prince’s Trust

Michael Fallon

Michael Fallon
Defence Secretary

Mike Baess

Mike Baess
Tesco Food Writer

Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara
Chief Information Officer

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister

Paul Jones

Paul Jones
Head of Design

Paul Morris

Paul Morris
Customer Communications Director, UK Marketing

Paul Ritchie

Paul Ritchie
CEO Tesco China

Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson
Head of Technology Research at Tesco Labs

Pornpen Nartpiriyarat

Pornpen Nartpiriyarat
Head of Trading Law and Technical, Tesco Lotus

Rachel Bushby

Rachel Bushby
Early Careers Programme Manager

Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc
Chef

Rebecca Shelley

Rebecca Shelley
Group Communications Director

Robert Folly

Robert Folly
Store Manager

Robin Terrell

Robin Terrell
Chief Customer Officer

Sarah Mackie

Sarah Mackie
Head of Local Sourcing

Simon Belsham

Simon Belsham
Managing Director, Grocery Home Shopping, Dotcom

Simon Hay

Simon Hay
Chief Executive - dunnhumby

Tom Hind

Tom Hind
Group Agriculture Director

Tracey Clements

Tracey Clements
Community & Customer Experience Director

Trevor Masters

Trevor Masters
CEO International

19 June 2013

3D Printing

By Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson
Behind the scenes at Tesco HQ teams of technology experts work away. Day in and day out they seek out and create the latest and very best technology. They play with it, adapt it and find out how it can make life better for customers and colleagues. No idea is too big, no thought unthinkable and no ambition too grand – well, almost. 

Every time our research and development teams meet up, which we do regularly to show off some of the technologies we’re looking at and working on, there is one item that is guaranteed to draw a crowd, the 3D printer. It’s great that we have one to test out and to be able to look at how they might change the way stores work.

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about 3D printing and what it can do. In medicine it can be used to build custom prosthetics and even implants and all with similar technology to the device that’s sat on our desk in the office. There’s even a group in the Netherlands who are planning to “print” a whole house.

3D Printer

(The 3D printer up close)

If you’re not familiar with how the whole thing works then you’re not alone. There are a few different technologies, but generally layers of material are built up on a platform one at a time from resin that is melted and then cools in place. The platform moves down a bit before each new layer is added and over time, the item that you want to make begins to emerge.

3D Printing

The 3D printer in action. For more information you should watch this youtube video too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEKns8T7yUA

So what does this all mean for Tesco then? Well I’m making no promises, but there are a few things I can predict for the future. We already print photos and posters in many of our larger stores, so why not other gifts and personalised items? How about letting kids design their own toys and then actually being able to get them made. What if we had a digital catalogue of spare parts for items that you’d bought? They could be printed on demand and ready for you by the time you’d finished your shopping. You could even take a broken item in to store; we could scan it in 3D, repair it digitally and make you a new one. The potential for 3D technology to revolutionise the way we view stores and what we can get from them is vast.

Printer on desk

(My desk)

We’re pretty excited about 3D printing and we’ll be working hard to see how we might be able use it to make things better for customers. We won’t stop there though and as always we’re constantly seeking out the genuinely ‘next big thing.’ Up next I've got a trip to Silicon Valley – the heart of the technology industry, where as well as meeting some of the big names I’ll also be getting together with lots of start-ups and trying to find that idea or product that might just change the retail world. Watch this space to find out more about what I get up to.

Meet our contributors

Georg Fischer
James Stephen
Jill Easterbrook
Barbara Young
Michael Fallon
Raymond Blanc
Hannah Cornick
Mark Little
Anuradha Chandra
Carmel McConnell
Rachel Bushby
Robin Terrell

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