Panalpina “The elongated, take-make-dispose supply chain is under threat”

Digital manufacturing such as 3D printing and flexible models of distribution close to the point of consumption will shape tomorrow’s supply chains, according to Panalpina’s Mike Wilson.

In a recent interview, Mike Wilson, global head of Logistics and Manufacturing at Panalpina, and newly chaired honorary visiting professor at Cardiff Business School, talked to professor Aris Sytentos, from the School’s Panalpina Research Centre, about manufacturing and supply chain trends, Sino-US trade conflicts and who will be the ultimate winners in global logistics.

“The elongated, take-make-dispose supply chain that has been the mainstay model for the last number of decades is under threat. It won’t all change overnight, but we are certainly experiencing the change today. Supply chains are going local. […] The trade wars we are seeing only accelerate this migration,” says Wilson in the interview.

Wilson argues that the previous constraints to manufacturing and supply chains are being quickly removed and he cautions global manufacturers to think seriously about where best to position their production capabilities. According to Wilson, speed and proximity to market have become much more critical, giving companies more options and choices in where to manufacture products.

“Technological advances in the digital age help to mobilize manufacturing, and time to market becomes the key element in the product life cycle. Original equipment manufacturers have long since outsourced manufacturing and supply chains, and will therefore need help to redesign and implement new strategies for both,” says Wilson.

He predicts the rise of the multi-disciplined mixed use facility: “Micro-factories combined with distribution close to the points of consumption. When we consider the nature of e-commerce and the expectation that goes with it, then moving manufacturing and supply chains as close as possible to consumers makes so much sense.”

Wilson is convinced that the real winners in all this will be the organizations that can help provide the services that come with the movement of manufacturing and supply chains: “From advisory services that help with distributed manufacturing and supply chain redesign, to new digital services in manufacturing and flexible models of distribution close to the point of consumption; these are the core competencies required for adapting to the new world.”

You can read the full interview here and watch a video about Panalpina’s research partnership with Cardiff University here.



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