2 research outputs found

    Rapid manufacturing as an enabling technology in supply chain improvements

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    Rapid Manufacturing (RM), the direct production of a finished product, is a newly emerging manufacturing technology projected to provide supply chain benefits. However, there is a lack of information detailing its expected benefits in the supply chain. Robust, generic guidelines are needed in order to help practitioners cope with this emerging manufacturing technology. The aim of this research is to establish the benefits and difficulties of RM in supply chain along with an indication of the possible changes required to sustain RM as a future potential manufacturing machine. There is a common consensus that an information system is required for the effective functioning of the supply chain. This study concerns the integration of RM within the supply chain information system. As the parameters of the supply chain and information system applications are many, the research is focused on a specific set of parameters. Critically, the focus of the study is on identifying how RM would improve customisation and reduce lead time and inventory on products. The application of the information system is also examined. With the research focused towards the future, technological forecasting of RM's impact on the supply chain and information system is considered. Adopting scenarios the application of RM is explored in various supply chain structures, A performance analysis of RM is undertaken by means of a questionnaire involving people with relevant experience. From the results, decision analysis on supply chain structures adopting RM is undertaken to select a suitable structure for the manufacture of a product through RM. A decision-analysis tool kit is developed and products are grouped according to the criteria suitable for the application of RM. Validation of the decision-analysis tool kit and the suitability of RM in the supply chain is carried out via a case study of the production of a prosthetic product. The results how that the developed decision-analysis system works simply and effectively. RM is suitable for application in various supply chain structures; it provides a new dimension ('in-depth') in customising products as well as reducing inventory and lead-time. However, the full effectiveness of RM is entirely dependent on the supply chain structure adopted. Hence, some changes required to sustain RM as a future potential manufacturing system are suggested. Finally, the case study is used to illustrate the possible application of RM in improving selected parameters of supply chain performance for the manufacture of customised products

    Responsiveness, the primary reason behind re-shoring manufacturing activities to the UK: an Indian industry perspective

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    Purpose: Due to today’s volatile business environment companies have started to establish a better understanding of the total risk/benefit-balance concerning manufacturing location decisions of their component supply. The focus is now much more on comprehensive and strategic supply chain issues rather than simply relying on piece part cost analysis. This has led to an emerging trend called re-shoring. The aim of this paper is to understand the primary motivation behind the re-shoring strategy in the UK and investigate the factors that influence this decision from Indian industries perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis of the paper is based on interviews conducted in the UK and India (State of Tamil Nadu) in various industries including automotive, industrial goods, textile, and marine. For this purpose an interview framework based on key enablers identified from the literature, being IT solutions, manufacturing equipment and human factors. This provided an assessment of the capability of the companies for being responsive to western demand. Findings: The findings indicate that re-shoring to the UK is the result of inadequacy in responsiveness and long production lead-times of the Indian suppliers. The outcome of this paper indicates that the top factors behind this inadequacy in responsiveness are logistics and transportation, electricity shortage, excessive paperwork and working attitude. Originality/value: This paper aims to fill the gap in the re-shoring literature by providing a clear picture behind the reason for re-shoring in the UK and identify the drivers behind this shortcoming in the component supply from India