As Additive Manufacturing becomes increasingly prevalent in commercial manufacturing environments, the need to effectively consider optimal strategies for management is increased. At present most research has focused on individual machines, yet there is a wealth of evidence to suggest competitive manufacturing is best managed from a systems perspective. Through 14 case studies developed with four long-established Additive Manufacturing companies this paper explores the conduct of Industrial AM in contemporary manufacturing environments. A multitude of activities, mechanisms, and controls are identified through this detailed investigation of Additive Manufacturing operations. Based on these empirical results a general four component Industrial Additive Manufacturing System is developed, together with the identification of potential strategic opportunities to enhance future manufacturing. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.