Critical Issues: Manufacturing/Supply Chain

Critical issues are thought provoking articles relating to strategy, legislation, technology, best practice and some of the most challenging business topics in the world of manufacturing and supply chain information technology. The articles in this section have been contributed by leading vendors, industry leaders, research analysts, trade associations and consultancies and cover a variety of topics relating to the manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, transportation and distribution marketplace across Europe. They look at market trends, improvements in technology and some thought provoking comment on all aspects of optimising and improving efficiencies throughout the supply chain from raw material to finished product.

Other important topics covered in this section concern Health and Safety in Logistics with articles from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).Taxation, government policy, climate change, recruitment and training schemes are all covered, as well as educational opportunities at various UK logistics educational facilities such at Cranfield University

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Driving ecommerce success with delivery & experience management (DMXM)

1 Driving ecommerce success with delivery & experience management (DMXM)

By Johan Hellman, VP Product and Carrier, nShift.

Building brand loyalty in retail and ecommerce is getting harder. Despite spending increasing sums on discounts and promotions to entice new customers, retailers struggle with one-time purchasers and serial purchase-and-return consumers. What’s more, they must contend with rising marketing and logistics costs.

The interplay between robotics and AI in manufacturing

2 The interplay between robotics and AI in manufacturing

By Louis Columbus, senior industry marketing manager, DELMIA.

The growth opportunities for AI and robotics in manufacturing are vast and projected to reach $182 billion globally by 2027. Companies that fail to adopt these exponentially advancing technologies as part of their process risk falling behind, as smart factories powered by intelligent machines become the norm.

How digitising ocean booking and document management improves your supply chain

3 How digitising ocean booking and document management improves your supply chain

By Corey Brincks, Senior Product Marketing Manager, FourKites.

Document management is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of international shipping. A single ocean journey typically spans 20 days and requires between 9 and 18 separate documents, each of which must be carefully prepared, reviewed and submitted to specific parties at specific times.

Next generation retailing: stronger supplier engagement through AI tools

4 Next generation retailing: stronger supplier engagement through AI tools

Retail Express’ Ed Betts explains that the time to reach for advanced tools is now – and the opportunity to optimise retail processes does not have to be disruptive or difficult

Global supply chains are now in the ‘Goldilocks zone’

5 Global supply chains are now in the ‘Goldilocks zone’

The GEP Global Supply Chain Volatility Index — the indicator tracking demand conditions, shortages, transportation costs, inventories and backlogs based on a monthly survey of 27,000 businesses — rose in April to -0.18, from -0.32 in March, which signals that global supply chains are operating at close to full capacity.

Blue Yonder survey: Executives invest millions into their sustainability and AI-driven supply chains

6 Blue Yonder survey: Executives invest millions into their sustainability and AI-driven supply chains

Blue Yonder has released the results of its 2024 Supply Chain Executive survey, which polled global supply chain executives on their businesses’ experiences with supply chain and logistics strategy and operations over the past year.

IDTechEx explores printed electronics in electrified and autonomous mobility

7 IDTechEx explores printed electronics in electrified and autonomous mobility

By Dr Jack Howley, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx.

Electrification, autonomy and vehicle ownership saturation are causing a technological revolution in the automotive sector.

How disruptions in the supply chain affect the automotive industry

8 How disruptions in the supply chain affect the automotive industry

By Chris Thompson, Operations Director at Electrix International.

The automotive industry's reliance on its supply chain running smoothly is important to ensure the consistent production of vehicles for consumer and corporate demand, especially considering that most vehicles can contain between 15,000 and 25,000 component parts.

How innovation in manufacturing is helping address the top 3 challenges holding back a hydrogen fuel cell revolution

9 How innovation in manufacturing is helping address the top 3 challenges holding back a hydrogen fuel cell revolution

By Dr Tom Mason, CEO of Bramble Energy,

Those in the energy systems business are all too aware of the huge potential held by hydrogen fuel cells.With their ability to provide clean, versatile and scalable solutions for decarbonisation across many industries, their development offers one of the most promising pathways towards a sustainable future in existence today.

The Letterverse: Digital twins help postal and logistics companies plan for the future

10 The Letterverse: Digital twins help postal and logistics companies plan for the future

Outside of fantasy novels, nobody has a crystal ball to see into the future. However, postal services and logistics companies are building digital twins to achieve just that. Powered by data-driven virtual models that can simulate real-world operations, digital twins are allowing the sector to predict the future and plan for it.

Manufacturing Critical Issues

The manufacturing industry is facing a number of critical issues, including:

  • Supply chain disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic and geo-political tensions/war has caused widespread disruption to global supply chains, and this is having a significant impact on manufacturing. Manufacturers are struggling to get the raw materials and components they need to produce their products, and this is leading to shortages and delays.
  • Labour shortage. The manufacturing industry is facing a labor shortage, as there are not enough skilled workers available to fill open positions. This is due to a number of factors, including the aging workforce, the decline of manufacturing in some countries, and the lack of educational opportunities in STEM fields.
  • Rising costs. The cost of manufacturing is rising, due to factors such as the rising cost of raw materials, energy, and transportation. This is putting pressure on manufacturers' margins and making it difficult for them to compete.
  • Technology adoption. The manufacturing industry is facing the challenge of adopting new technologies, such as automation and artificial intelligence. These technologies can help manufacturers to improve efficiency and productivity, but they can also be expensive and disruptive to implement.
  • Environmental regulations. Manufacturers are facing increasing environmental regulations, which are forcing them to change their production processes. This can be costly and time-consuming, but it is essential for manufacturers to comply with these regulations in order to remain competitive.

Supply Chain Critical Issues

The global supply chain has been facing a number of critical issues in recent years, including

  • Labour shortages: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to labor shortages in many industries, including manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing. This has made it difficult to find and retain workers, which has led to delays and disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Equipment shortages: The global supply chain is also facing shortages of equipment, such as containers, trucks, and ships. This is due to a number of factors, including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and increased demand for goods.
  • Port congestion: Port congestion has been a major issue in recent years, as ships have been waiting for days or even weeks to unload their cargo. This is due to a number of factors, including increased demand, labor shortages, and weather events.
  • Demand volatility: Demand for goods has been volatile in recent years, as consumers have shifted their spending habits due to the pandemic. This has made it difficult for businesses to forecast demand and manage their supply chains accordingly.
  • Natural disasters: Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, can also disrupt the supply chain. These events can damage infrastructure, disrupt transportation, and destroy inventory.

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