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22 Feb 2022

Collaborating and conquering supply setbacks

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Now more than ever, receiving your goods on time and to budget is absolutely critical. MAN, with access to several different factories and the purchasing power of a major international organisation, can be the trusted manufacturing partner you are looking for.

Now more than ever, receiving your goods on time and to budget is absolutely critical.

Failure to get parts can stop an entire production line and, with the cold winds of Brexit and Covid-19 still being felt, we are already seeing the impact of global disruption affecting some of the world’s largest OEMs.

MAN, with access to several different factories and the purchasing power of a major international organisation, can be the trusted manufacturing partner you are looking for.

Over the past couple of years, the group has seen a steady influx of contract wins for member firms that are taking on reshoring projects and this is due to a growing urge to shorten supply chains and UK manufacturers becoming ever more competitive against international rivals.

The group has strength in numbers, pretty much every quality accreditation in the world and the best engineering minds operating within nine different engineering disciplines.

The difference is collaboration and knowledge share and doing away with the notion of supplier ‘relationships’ and instead, encouraging supplier ‘partnerships.’ Partnerships succeed on the core principles of collaboration and MAN believe this subtle shift will allow for better continuity of supply.

Muller on never missing a beat

At MAN member Muller’s Redditch facility, manufacturing from bright bar for one long-established tier 1 automotive customer is reliant on flexible, and guaranteed supply.

A collaboration with a UK stockholder for bright bar (with a joint venture with a Spanish Mill) is a collaboration that hasn’t missed a beat in over 15 years. The cold winds of Brexit and Covid were not enough to affect that excellent on time delivery statistic recorded at Muller, thanks to long-term schedules in place. Access to a UK stockholder with international links is the difference and the nuances of the partnership ensure security of supply for Muller’s customer.

Muller averages two to three call-offs per week with the material supplier, purchasing £2-3m of raw material annually. But it is reacting and adapting to customer demand where those nuances of the partnership shine. Manufacturers will know only too well how production demands have seen unpredictable peaks and troughs throughout Brexit and the pandemic. Some industries effected more than others, but many suppliers struggling to manage the uncertainty.

As a supplier, how you react to these challenges is important. Muller’s customer, no matter the increase or decrease in component requirements can be assured that the material needed is stocked and ready to go. Lack of material in stock and component supply are two things that will never stop Muller’s customer going to market.

Collaborating and conquering supply setbacks

Grove Design on taking the electronics supply shortage into its own hands

The global chip shortage is a challenge you’ll likely be familiar with. Its media coverage has been as vast as the number of frustrated manufacturers struggling to get their hands on these critical components. Grove Design, MAN member and specialist industrial design firm found themselves in the same position as many others when supporting a customer with their audio amplifier design and prototype.

Difficulty finding electronics specified for the design would have a damaging effect on bringing this new product to market in a timely manner. But who better than the inventive minds behind an industrial design agency to think outside the box and solve a problem that many others have considered to be a problem out of their control?

Grove supported their customer by committing to holding local stock through supply uncertainty and they’ve done so in a truly unique way. This is a short tale of inventiveness and bringing your core discipline to the fore.

Rather than submit to defeat and wait in line for the specified chip, Grove has sourced an alternative high-end chip that they have purchased in bulk, this has been ‘designed-in’ to a new PCB for the audio amplifier. Grove will design the board that will be integrated and optimised for the new high-end chip.  This is a small part of a larger project, but one that could have brought the project to a standstill without having been addressed beforehand.

When the issue of chip and electronic components supply shortage is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, this inventive method ensures the customer can leap that hurdle and get to market quickly. Grove is providing its customer with a solution that drives many added-value benefits, most notable being the competitive advantage their customer will create in the market.

Collaborating and conquering supply setbacks

PP C&A on benefiting from reshoring and a desire for greater security of supply

MAN member PP Control & Automation is enjoying a record year, and one where reshoring has played a crucial role. The strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialist has seen demand for its services rise by 25% on the previous year due to a combination of reshoring back to the UK and a desire for greater security of supply.

There probably hasn’t ever been a year like it in terms of supply chain disruption and uncertainty, but despite this, PP C&A is enjoying a tidal wave of interest in what they do.

PP C&A provide production and assembly capability – spanning automation, electronics, electrical control, hydraulics, mechanical and pneumatics. It is essentially the provision of and access to capacity, greater customisation, and value-added design, whilst de-risking the supply chain in the process.

The company’s expertise in control and automation and contract manufacturing, combined with the ability to quickly set up new production cells, saw it supply critical wiring harnesses to the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium and a host of new Covid-19 inspired technologies designed to protect people and reduce the spread of the virus.

It is now setting its sights on further growth in 2022 and has plans in place to make a senior sales appointment and kick-start an investment plan that will see it incorporate more automation in production inventory management.

Although there is still a lot of supply chain disruption affecting all parts of the economy, it is expected that gradual improvements as the year progresses will offer new opportunities for UK manufacturers. PP C&A, like its MAN colleagues are keen to press on and take advantage.

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The Manufacturing Assembly Network is a collaboration of 10 sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency.

Its membership includes Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills International, Muller, Nemco, PP Control & Automation and WMG.

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