Supply chain disruptions driving shift from ‘just-in-time’ to ‘just-in-case’: ABB Robotics study

Supply chain disruption and rising material costs are causing the global automotive industry to re-evaluate lean manufacturing principles and a shift to greater stock-holding – a move away from the just-in-time approach

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 22 Mar 2023 Views icon4983 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Supply chain disruptions driving shift from ‘just-in-time’ to ‘just-in-case’: ABB Robotics study

Supply chain disruption and rising material costs are causing the global automotive industry to re-evaluate lean manufacturing principles, reveals a new survey commissioned by ABB Robotics. Shifting from ‘just-in-time’ to ‘just in case’ strategies, manufacturers are holding more stock to protect against unplanned disruptions.

The study’s finding reveals that supply chain concerns are creating a shift to greater stock-holding – a move away from the just-in-time approach. Also, rising costs and the desire to operate more sustainably are sharpening the focus on operational and energy efficiency gains through automation.

Produced in partnership with Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, the survey was completed by a mix of global industry experts from vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and engineering. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents cited ongoing supply chain concerns when asked to select their top three challenges to automotive manufacturing, while 41% cited the impacts of material and component price increases and 31% pointed to growing labour costs and shortages. The survey also revealed how manufacturers were turning to increased stock-holding and bulk material purchasing to limit their exposure to disruption elsewhere in the supply chain, while working with a wider network of suppliers to ensure sufficient availability of parts.

“This seismic shift in manufacturing logistics requires smart, effective solutions,” said Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line. “ABB is addressing these challenges directly with more efficient and flexible solutions, such as our range of AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) which can greatly improve the speed of delivery of critical parts to the assembly line.”

The survey highlighted how the rising cost of raw materials (62%) had already overtaken energy costs (59%) as the industry’s chief concern. Energy efficiency continues to be important, while an identical number of respondents (17%) felt that tighter cost management was crucial to the industry’s response. After launching in 2022, innovative solutions like ABB PixelPaint are helping reduce waste and increase efficiency in automotive painting applications, enabling manufacturers to better manage costs while operating more sustainably.

The ABB survey includes close to 600 global industry experts, from vehicle manufacturers, and supplies at all levels of management, engineering and other key professionals throughout the automotive world.

 

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