Manufacturing has gone through a series of major evolutions in the past few years. Subtractive processes (drilling, cutting, CNC milling and turning) and standard formative techniques (injecting, foraging, stamping, casting, molding) have been challenged by new, rapidly growing disruptive technologies, including 3D printing, laser surface texturing and additive manufacturing, among others. This article discusses some of these new technologies versus legacy approaches for understanding the underlying parameters and challenges. How Bruker 3D optical profiling technologies fit into new and evolving manufacturing approaches are also discussed. Lastly, several case studies illustrate how optical profiling can help to optimize these new manufacturing processes. Although subtractive and formative techniques have existed for a long time, the need for flexibility in design, conception and customization has meant that manufacturing is always looking for new, improved solutions. For example, formative manufacturing requires the conception and manufacture of stamps or molds that do not require further change or customization. This typically does reduce the cost for high-volume production. ...