Engineering & Technology

A key to smart supply chain management

A key to smart supply chain management: Utilising Smart Manufacturing Technologies to address real time demand and supply crisis within Industries amidst the Covid-19 outbreak

 

The impact of the global Covid-19 epidemic is evolving each and every minute. It is virtually impossible to look in any sphere of life and not see a blotch of the pandemic, from our daily lives to workplace, extending to communities and Global market the industrial sector being hit the hardest. With several unidentified rudiments of the outbreak, each hour the situation continues to unfold along bringing up unprecedented challenges for the future. One of the biggest challenges is bolstering the economy of the country which will require thinking differently about the market, include the creation of new business models, changes in the supply chain, digitalization and cost-optimization exercises. As the world observes together how the virus and its after-effects unfold, the heavy industry is up against some unique challenges. While the fragmented nature of the supply side adds up to a large segment of the problems, adding up to that chaos in terms of shortage of resources, untimely procurement, stock-out, erroneous artwork, product recalls sums up resulting a huge loss of business and revenue. Roadblocks in the areas of order management and fulfilment of the supply chain, impacts the entire production process. Across the Globe, the real call of the situation lies in empowering industries with the visibility to digitalize the supply chain in real-time in-order to absorb demand- supply fluctuations faster.

• 3D Printers for smart and rapid manufacturing

Automation being a game-changer in supply chain management utilised Leverage track-and trace technologies, RFID systems, Bluetooth technology Robots which have proved their potentiality in supply chain digitalization for heavy industries. The new era of smart manufacturing by 3D printers can further breakdown the silos to embrace a comprehensive approach towards Industry 4.0. Supply chains suffer from global sprawl, with months required to design and source components, and then assemble them into a finished product. Installing a 3D printer along with some spools of wire or other generic inputs easily converts idea, and it’s just a matter of few days create a prototype nearly any desired product Generic inputs require far less negotiation and planning. Low infrastructure requirements, enhanced mobility, flexible programmability and more adaptability can leverage expeditious product development and manufacturing. A ‘greener’, more energy-efficient and cost efficient production method can effectively lower the risk of overproduction and excess inventory and reduces the carbon footprint.

The ‘portable’ nature of the technology will enable businesses to take production to local markets or customers faster. The ease of a local build opens the potential for significant transportation and logistics cost reductions. As a result, the Global economy will witness shift away from mass production in low-cost countries in favour of more local assembly hubs. Majority of parts can be made within hours or days instead of weeks, significantly reducing manufacturing downtime. As envisioned, the future supply chain, the customer places the order first, and then a local, highly automated 3D printing shop fabricates the finished product and then delivers it, often via drones. A complementary technology in multiple areas,
3D printers, across the supply chain can prove to be a key prospect for companies to reengineer their buy-make-store-move-sell supply chain for economical advantage. As correctly said “When the going Gets Tough, The Smart Gets Smarter”- while the clock ticks by, it is worth a realization that adapting a smart technology can only ensure a smarter business model.

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