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We are recruiting for warehouse operative (s) in the Coinbrook area of Slough. The company is a market leader in the processing of parcels for airlines and logistics companies
The All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group held a roundtable debate earlier this summer on UK manufacturing’s competitiveness in the global 3D printing space.
HP’s George Brasher was part of the debate, and sets out what Britain must do to be ready for the future of industrial production.
We are at the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and manufacturing is on the verge of radical change.
Digital technology is transforming how we conceive, design, produce, distribute and consume almost everything – with enormous implications for entire
economies and industries.
During the roundtable debate, which was hosted by HP, Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, one thing became clearer than ever before: 3D printing sits in the driver seat.
This disruptive technology is digitally transforming the $12tn global manufacturing market and forever changing the way the world designs and produces. But, what does the UK need to do to ensure we grab hold of this opportunity and lead from our own backyard?
3D printing – also known as digital production or additive manufacturing – is modernising the foundational benefits of industrial production for our hyperconnected, digitally driven world.
Before the industrial revolution, products were both designed and produced by artisans. They were made on a bespoke and on-demand basis, and for local consumption. Shoes were handcrafted by local cobblers, textiles were hand spun, and wheels were made by hand.
The first two industrial revolutions, powered by steam and electricity respectively, changed all that. They separated out design from manufacturing, but the two functions remained geographically co-located.
The age of IT and the internet then digitally connected the world, eliminating the need for physical proximity between design, production and consumption. Our manufacturing paradigm became one of producing where costs are lowest, then transporting to where the demand was.
This has resulted in long, complex and rigid supply chains, which are not just costly, but inefficient at matching supply and demand.
It has required goods to be moved around the world with negative impact to the environment and it has placed great distance between manufacturing and the people that it serves.
The digital manufacturing revolution being led by 3D printing is reclaiming the power of custom-crafting from the pre-industrial age, but applying it to today’s world at global scale.
3D printing is the catalyst that’s moving us from one-size-fit-all mass production to a new world of mass-customisation that speeds design and production, accelerates innovation, lowers prices, creates more flexible supply chains, promotes sustainability, and reduces environmental impact.
The digital transformation being ushered in by 3D printing has already begun. For just one example, an Aerosports modelling and design customer will be using 3D Printing to produce more than 50,000 end-use parts per week using HP’s durable 3D High Reusability PA 12 material.
From a UK perspective, the parliamentary roundtable was a timely intervention, because at this early stage, Britain has the potential to be a global leader in digital production.
A study of 30 leading economies by HP and AT Kearney placed us among the top five countries worldwide in terms of readiness for 3D printing. The UK ranks second in Europe, behind only Germany.
Additionally, our competitiveness looks set to get better still: Britain boasts the world’s third fastest-growing 3D printing market.
However, we can’t get away from the fact that our manufacturing industry has been declining for many years. In the past decade, Britain has fallen from being the sixth to the eighth largest manufacturer in the world.
The HP and AT Kearney report puts us outside the world’s top ten nations for the digital production skills that will enable 3D printing to flourish.
Yet in my view, manufacturing remains in our DNA. The sector employs 2.6 million workers here in the UK, and still generates 10% of our GDP, and it is embedded in our educational institutions, research networks and specialised companies.
This is why I believe that 3D printing presents a one-off opportunity for Britain’s economy.
If the UK is to seize this opportunity, government must play a crucial role in sustaining our competitive edge in digital production. Yet, as highlighted at the roundtable, its current Industrial Strategy contains just one brief reference to additive manufacturing.
In this context, the debate at Parliament explored how government can foster the conditions for digital production to thrive in Britain. Policymakers must focus their attention on three crucial pillars:
There are three vital levers the government can use to help accelerate the growth of the country’s 3D printing market:
Government must also nurture the growth of a sustainable 3D ecosystem in Britain. This will mean encouraging investment in digital manufacturing capabilities through the use of grants and tax breaks.
Finally, major investment will be needed from the government in two key areas:
The sector also has work to do if it is to truly realise additive manufacturing’s huge potential. There remains a perception in some circles that 3D printing is yet to reach industrial capability, but this is no longer the case.
Three-D technology has already begun to be employed for large-scale, customised production. For example, the Royal Navy turned to 3D printing to develop a drone that would work in the harsh Antarctic climate.
Drones made by traditional manufacturing methods weren’t durable enough for such extreme conditions. Remarkably, the Navy’s model is actually cheaper than those made by conventional means.
Meanwhile, FICEP Steel Surface Systems is exploiting digital production technology to improve the performance of steel used in buildings like The Shard in London.
The reality is that 3D printing is fast becoming the new model of industrial production. And Britain has a unique chance to steal a march in the global race to be ready for it.
But there is no room for complacency. The country’s additive manufacturing ecosystem needs to come together as a whole: not just government, but also designers, manufacturers, researchers, device-makers and educators.
We must all play our part in developing the 3D printing industry in the UK, and widening access to digital production technology and skills for businesses.
Our place in manufacturing’s digital future, and at the global table of global innovation, is at stake.
There is no doubt that packing products in cardboard boxes is an essential part of day to day business operations, but at what cost? As a result of several paper price increases the cost of new cardboard boxes has escalated at an alarming rate and with further increases in the pipeline the outlook is gloomy to say the least!
As it becomes increasingly difficult to pass on price increases, the race is on to reduce costs… but how? Most cardboard box manufacturers have similar costs for paper, energy, transportation etc. so achieving substantial cost reductions is near impossible, so what’s the alternative?
Before answering the question, consider this. Do you really need to buy expensive, new cardboard boxes to ship your products? If it is purely a transit box to deliver your products safely to your customers, why buy a brand new box when a used box will do the same job but cheaper. Want to hear more? Then it’s time to talk to Sadlers.
Sadlers are the UK’s largest supplier of used cardboard boxes, shipping millions of items to thousands of customers throughout the UK and Ireland. They have a massive stock range in a wide variety of sizes and board grades. Their prices are substantially lower than cardboard box manufacturers Gavin Sadler, who is part of the third generation of Sadlers says “We are trying to raise awareness of the benefits of shipping in used boxes. We can deliver substantial price reductions without compromising quality.”
To reinforce their claims Sadlers have just launched a range of once used cardboard storage boxes that are perfect for storage and warehousing operations.
Gavin says “We are really excited to launch this range which is a departure from the standard boxes we usually market. The boxes, which are of an open top style with lids, are perfect for storage of product in racks or on pallets, or to be used for work in progress. Most importantly they are very cheap, we anticipate a 60% cost saving compared to brand new equivalent.”
As well as appealing to customers looking to reduce their packaging costs, Sadlers also help companies enhance the financial return from their cardboard waste. By encouraging the segregation of reusable boxes.
Gavin adds “The baled cardboard market has seen substantial price drops this year so now is the time to divert used cardboard boxes to reuse. It is easy to set up and requires little or no extra effort compared to baling.”
Sadlers pay substantially higher rates than processors of baled cardboard and will fix the price for the long term.
Whether you are buying boxes or selling boxes Sadlers appear to have a competitive solution
The issue of modern slavery in the supply chain will not go away. Yesterday the Home Office set out plans to review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 after research found that the economic and social costs of modern slavery to the UK are some £4.3 billion.
Coincidentally, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, published its own study which found that about a third of supply chain managers do not think their businesses are doing enough to identify modern slavery in their supply chains.
Cath Hill, CIPS group director said: “Awareness of modern slavery alone will do little to help exploited people. These figures suggest that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak when it comes to rooting out slavery.”
According to the Home Office: “Each instance of the crime is estimated to cost around £330,000, including the cost of support, lost earnings and law enforcement but most significantly the physical and emotional harms suffered by individuals, who are often exploited over months and sometimes years. This places each modern slavery crime as second only to homicide in terms of harm to its victims and society.”
And it highlighted the fact that the criminal networks that recruit and control victims are constantly adapting and finding new ways to exploit victims. The aim of the review will be to enhance the currently legislation. Key areas of focus for the review will be developing an understanding on the nature of modern slavery offences, the provisions around legal access and compensation to victims and improving the support given to child victims.
Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said: “Chairing the Business Against Slavery Forum last week, it is clear some companies are leading the way but others are falling behind. I’ve asked for this review to look at if we should strengthen our legislation to ensure businesses are taking robust action to eradicate forced labour in their supply chains.”
The CIPS study identified a desire to do more among supply chain professionals but it is clear that companies need to provide more support. For example, 70 per cent of supply chain managers said they wanted more access to guidance and training on how to tackle the problem.
When Peter Drucker wrote: “What gets measured gets managed”, he probably wasn’t thinking of modern slavery. But the 2015 legislation started the process of measuring the problem, and it’s a fair bet that the Home Office review will lead to a toughening up of the legislation.
Legislation is all well and good, but what is very clear is that supply chain professionals need more support from their organisations to deal with the problem.