A wealth of opportunity is available to companies that think internationally, and businesses producing parts for the manufacturing industry should be looking to the corners of the world in search of contracts
Gone are the days when complex products and all their components were made in one factory. These days, manufacturers source goods from all over the world. While a car may be branded as the product of one country, it is likely to be considerably more international: leather seats from Italy, engines from Germany, and moulded plastics from Asia, for example. As the manufacturing sector has evolved, so have logistics companies, in order to meet changing demand and ensure a smooth, continuous and efficient supply chain.
In recent years, an international customer base has become increasingly important to manufacturers and those businesses that do not look abroad risk missing out on opportunities. The UK government has recently set an ambitious target of increasing exports to £1 trillion ($1.56 trillion) by 2020. Manufacturers of all sizes will have a vital impact on whether or not this target is met, or indeed, surpassed.
The UK has reported the strongest export growth of all EU nations, so now is definitely the time to go global, not just in established markets, but emerging ones too. A wealth of opportunity is available to those companies that do think internationally, and businesses producing parts for the manufacturing industry should be looking to far-flung corners of the world in search of contracts.
Cost simplicity and control
As global industries become increasingly connected, the need for a healthy and sustainable supply chain has become increasingly relevant. The further and faster you transport, the more you need to maintain a balance between cost, simplicity and control. This is true whether you are an international manufacturer, or a sole-trader supplying components to OEMs.
Logistics providers have moved in line with this and now offer bespoke and tailored solutions to support the needs of these businesses, whether international or domestic. There are options available for manufacturers to simplify the supply chain for customers by allowing a shipper to send multiple parts from a single origin country location, to multiple recipients in a single destination country, or multiple destination countries in the case of Europe. Packages can be cleared through customs as a single shipment entry, creating fewer steps and obstacles, and ensuring products arrive at each destination on time. This saves both time and money.
In industries such as automotive, where the slight delay of one component could set back production significantly, manufacturers can now take control of their supply chains. For customers requiring a high degree of shipment visibility and delivery compliance for critical, high-value and time-sensitive shipments, there are services that allow advanced monitoring of the shipment, and recovery features.
Manufacturers can also have increased control over deliveries, with near real-time visibility and the ability to collaborate and share information with business partners. Accessed through dedicated software, shipping managers not only gain a precise location of their shipment, but also its status in terms of temperature, exposure to light, humidity, barometric pressure, and shock. This adds an extra layer of efficiency and competitiveness to the supply chain. All this allows manufacturers to have more control over their products, and monitor products more closely, helping to ensure that they arrive at their destination on time, and in good condition.
Advances like these will continue to help manufacturers in the UK reach their objectives, whether on a domestic or international level. Manufacturing has undergone some periods of uncertainty in recent years, but the future is now looking bright. Increased investment from the government, coupled with ever-improving supply chains has aided improvement, as evidenced by the 1,500 manufacturing jobs that have been reshored to the UK since 2011. The manufacturing sector in the UK is set to continue growing, and with output volumes expected to increase, logistics providers have an increasingly important role to play in supporting this progress.
Eduardo Alvarez Damm works in marketing and product development at FedEx Express