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Manufacturing on Demand: How 3D Printing is Changing the Industry

The prediction was right: once the printing speed becomes faster, more materials become available, and the associated costs decrease, 3D printing in manufacturing is going to explode. With each passing day, vast improvements in all three categories are occurring, and we’re getting closer to that explosion.

Case in point: a report from January 2017 by PWC predicted 3D printing would impact 85% of the spare parts providers surveyed in the next five years, in part due to the increase in materials. Historically, resin and plastics were at the forefront of 3D printing. However, metals have recently been introduced to the industry, which means even the most complex parts will no longer need to be shipped from warehouses far away. Instead, they’ll be printed in-house – thereby eliminating a lengthy supply chain.

Let’s explore how the pioneers of 3D production in manufacturing: Electrolux, Ford, and Caterpillar, have continued to push the industry forward with innovations in materials, speed, and costs.

Electrolux | 3D Print On Demand to Lower Costs

As the company moves toward “smart factories” for the production and manufacturing of its domestic appliance products, Electrolux, a Swedish domestic appliance manufacturer, is embracing 3D printing for the manufacturing of spare parts on demand.  With this initiative, Electrolux engineers are solving problems that affect both the manufacturer and the customer. For example, an on-demand service for 3D printing of spare parts lowers the manufacturer’s production, inventory, and maintenance costs once the production of the appliances has stopped, yet the appliances are still in use.  And the service also eliminates high replacement costs and long processing and shipment times for customers seeking parts for products that are no longer sold.

Ford | 3D Printed Parts Drastically Reduce Production Time

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020

Always on the cutting edge of manufacturing, Ford has gone from inventing the original moving assembly line to embracing state-of-the-art technologies like 3D printing. In fact, when it comes to producing new parts, the innovation occurring in Ford’s 3D printing labs has been nothing short of extraordinary.

For example, employing traditional methods to produce part prototypes can require five months’ lead time and cost approximately $500,000; today, a 3D-printed part produced by Ford can be made in only a few days or even hours, while costing no more than a few thousand dollars.

As technology continues to advance, Ford engineers predict service dealerships may eventually have in-house 3D printers for the production of replacement parts, making repairs easier. Consumers could also take advantage of this technology — downloading modifications or accessories to completely customize their vehicles.

Caterpillar | The World’s First 3D-Printed Excavator

Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, has a long history of 3D printing in manufacturing; in fact, CAT is one of the pioneers behind additive manufacturing (AM). The company has been printing aluminum and titanium parts for years and is now taking the technology system-wide.  Proof of their versatility in – and commitment to – the 3D printing space: their usage of 3D printing technology goes beyond rapid prototyping of parts and into never-before-seen projects like the world’s first 3D-printed excavator. 

Additionally, the Caterpillar team has shown how much the technology can contribute to heavy equipment manufacturing by actually using a 3D printed part in their new machines. Gas turbines, which have a complex, fin-like design similar to fuel mixers, are often difficult to produce through traditional casting methods.  Now, Caterpillar quickly creates them with 3D printing. The company predicts that in the years to come, the same production method will apply to most of its manufactured parts.

Think Big. Start Small. Act Fast.

When it comes to 3D printing in manufacturing, the printing of both prototypes and usable parts is already gaining traction behind-the-scenes in many major manufacturing companies.

And by combining 3-D printing with advanced shipping management, manufacturers can shift the dynamics of after-sales maintenance and repair advantageously toward their business and their customers – and away from the margin-shrinking middlemen in their supply chains.  In fact, savvy manufacturers are finding the combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping management packs a powerful one-two punch that’s enabling them to:

  • Significantly reduce their inventory and production costs
  • Slash their shipping expenses
  • Accelerate delivery times
  • Provide a faster and on-demand customer experience
  • Say farewell to third-party resellers, long-distance carriers, and other middlemen in their supply chains

The players in the industry should follow the advice of Caterpillar’s Additive Manufacturing product manager, Stacey DelVecchio, who states the best strategy for manufacturers right now is to “think big, start small, and act fast.”

To learn more about 3D print and ship strategies, contact us today.

 

Logistics in the manufacturing industry: the shift from efficiency to customer experience

Business purchases are rapidly moving from offline to e-commerce. But is the logistics focus of the manufacturing industry shifting along? Discover why efficiency in logistics is now secondary to the online experience of your customers.

As a consumer, I can order a laptop today and have it delivered tomorrow night, right between dinner and my visit to the gym. From the moment I order I get constant Track & Trace updates, so I know exactly when to expect my parcel. And if the laptop is not entirely to my liking, it will be collected and returned free of charge, wherever and whenever this suits me.

Black box for business buyers

This scenario is the norm in B2C commerce. But for business buyers, it is still far from reality. The delivery of business orders is still often a black box in which the receiver enjoys little to no control or transparency. The question is for how long will this remain?

E-commerce becomes the standard in B2B

business buyers' expectations chart - next paragraph explains data

E-commerce is rapidly replacing the physical order forms and product catalogs that have dominated B2B sales for decades. According to Gartner (2018), 75% of all business procurement within five years takes place via online marketplaces and sales platforms. This creates a huge opportunity for manufacturers, but it also brings challenges.

The new generation of decision makers effortlessly projects the service they receive at Amazon, Zalando or Zappos onto their expectations towards business suppliers.

According to research among 6723 business buyers, 69% now expect an Amazon-like buying experience from their B2B suppliers (Salesforce Research, 2018). 67% already switched vendors because they offer an experience that is more alike the one in consumer retail. Both percentages are even higher among the new generation of decision makers born between ’81 and ’99.

What does this mean for the delivery of goods?

This consumerization of the business purchasing process is leaving its marks on suppliers. No fewer than 84% of B2B providers now consider it their top external threat (Episerver, 2019). This also translates to the delivery of goods. Shipments become more fragmented and smaller, which increases your dependence on parcel carriers.

inbound logistics chart

Source – Inbound Logistics, 2019

Although cutting transport costs continues to lead the list of shipping challenges, we see that the rise of e-commerce has become the number two challenge for today’s shippers. Closely followed by improving customer service. With the knowledge gained  from B2C e-commerce, we are likely to see the following delivery services become increasingly important in the B2B space:

Choice of multiple delivery options

In a business environment  there is usually  someone available to receive a shipment during business hours. However, this does not mean that one-size-fits-all shipping is sufficient. One customer might be willing to wait longer, at lower delivery costs. Another might need his delivery today. To meet this varying demand, offering a wide range of delivery options and delivery speeds is crucial; from same-day delivery for the most time-critical shipments to Economy-options for slower deliveries. You might be able to offer these via a single delivery partner, but due to ongoing carrier specialization, a mix of carriers is becoming more common and preferable.

Full transparency of shipping costs

Just like consumers, business buyers do not like to be surprised. By offering maximum transparency about delivery costs, including any handling fees and costs for customs clearance, you prevent uncertainty and significantly improve customer experience.

Real-time Track & Trace Insight & Updates

The need for transparency remains once the shipment is in the hands of the carrier. By proactively informing receivers about the status of their shipments, especially in the event of any delays or exceptions, you will optimally meet this need. Moreover, you keep control over the customer experience and prevent customers from contacting you or your carriers in frustration.

Localization of delivery options

With e-commerce, you can theoretically sell anywhere in the world, provided you can also deliver. In B2C e-commerce, we are currently seeing that retailers localize their delivery offerings, combining major carriers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS with local specialists. This isn’t just for cost saving reasons. Local carriers typically meet the demand of end customers in a particular geography better.

More shipping locations

Affordable, but fast, delivery is definitely at the top of the customer wish list. As a result, the distance between shippers and end customers is reducing. It shows in the opening of several, smaller shipping locations as a replacement or extension of traditional mega warehouses. Ship-from-store is the ultimate example of this trend. Omnichannel retailers use their store locations for the fulfillment of online orders, making even same-hour deliveries feasible. But this trend is also visible in the manufacturing space. Aided by the rise of 3D printing and robotics, production is shifting to decentralized locations, increasing the number of shipping locations in manufacturing.

How do you respond to this as a manufacturer?

The major logistical change that successful e-commerce parties, both B2C and B2B, bring about is the shift from push to pull. Where previously the supplier dictated delivery conditions, it is now the customer who determines where, when and by whom goods are delivered.

Partly due to this development, successful manufacturers are now saying goodbye to their efficient, but very rigid, supply chains. To meet the needs of the new generation of business buyers, flexibility is the new adage. By building in flexibility at tactical places in your supply chain, you prepare yourself for the rapidly changing and the wide array of wishes of all your customers. Take look at your supply chain through the eyes of customer experience and ask yourself – what would I think of this as a consumer? The answer might hold the future of your manufacturing business.

Want to know more about logistics trends in manufacturing?

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020Download the white paper “The 7 logistics trends that will radically change the manufacturing industry in 2020”. In this white paper, we cover the logistical trends that every manufacturer must know to remain competitive in our dynamic market.

 

 

8 Reasons Modern Manufacturing Companies Cannot do Without a TMS for Parcel

The current shift from operational efficiency to customer experience is changing the way manufacturers look at the IT-infrastructure of their supply chains. One of the applications spearheading these changes is a Transportation Management System (TMS) for Parcel. Discover the 8 reasons every modern manufacturers cannot do without such a multi-carrier shipping solution.

In our recent white paper, we cover the 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020. The common thread in these trends is the increased complexity and volatility of supply chains, caused by the consumerization of sales. Manufacturers open direct sales channels to end customers and the expectations of business buyers now mimic those of consumers.

More sales channels, more carriers

Powered by the consumerization of sales, the manufacturing industry is shipping out more parcels, via more logistics partners and more delivery services. Everything to ensure they meet the demands of modern business buyers.

“As to be expected given the growth of e-commerce, full-pallet only [shipping] profiles are rare. Considering that 40% of the respondents were manufacturers, [the] level of split-case shipping is significant.”

The 2018 Warehouse / Distribution Center Survey on the shift from full-pallet to split-case shipping

Managing carriers – the traditional way

The increase of carrier partners is at odds with traditional views on shipping. For several reasons manufacturers are used to working with one, or at most a select number of delivery partners.

First, bundling parcel volumes into a single carrier contract traditionally produced the lowest shipping costs. This paradigm has since shifted. Today, smart rate shopping with multiple carriers results in even lower shipping costs. Also, no single carrier can meet all modern customer demands. A second major reason manufacturers stuck to a single-carrier strategy is the time-consuming IT process of connecting EPR and WMS systems to the API interface of a carrier.

Those who do ship via multiple, custom integrated, carriers often run into challenges when trying to keep an overview. Pain points include logging into multiple systems to track shipments or needing to combine multiple data sets to generate the correct (financial) reports.

The future of shipping is a TMS for parcel

This contributed to the conception of Transportation Management Systems for Parcel. These systems, sometimes referred to as multi-carrier shipping software, take away the major challenges surrounding carrier management. By making shipping via multiple carriers more efficient and accessible, these systems are at the base of a future-proof supply chain. Discover the 8 reasons why modern manufacturing companies cannot do without a TMS for parcels:

1. Instant access to new carriers and delivery services

The first advantage of a multi-carrier shipping solution is instant access to a large library of carriers and associated delivery services. This translates into huge savings on IT. With these solutions API connections with individual carriers are a thing of the past, drastically shortening the time-to-market for new carriers.

2. Constant up-to-date carrier connections

Many companies also struggle to keep their existing carrier connections up-to-date. for example because delivery services or shipping label specifications change. With a TMS for Parcel solution, you ensure all carrier connections are always up-to-date, again saving valuable IT resources and time.

3. Better negotiation, lower shipping costs

A smart TMS for Parcel solution compares shipping costs between multiple providers. Based on the unique characteristics of shipments (destinations, formats, weights) and desired service levels (delivery speed, insurance) the system instantly selects the right mix of carriers. This is fundamental for better contract negotiations and direct savings on shipping costs.

4. Easily open new shipping locations

Because a TMS for Parcel solution is hosted in the cloud, opening up new shipping locations is simpler than ever. You no longer need on-premise installations or local updates allowing you to scale up (internationally) at an unprecedented speed.

“The Cloud just naturally lends itself toward TMS. After all, most TMS-related data is outside of the four walls of the company anyway, so why constrain your system to just being inside the four walls? ”

Amit Sethi, senior manager of logistics and supply chain at Capgemini

5. Increase in operational productivity

By standardizing and streamlining the shipping process through all carriers a TMS significantly increases operational productivity. The system slots right into existing operational workflows, allowing users to generate all shipping documentation with a single touch. From shipping labels to End of Day manifest and CMRs, regardless of the chosen carrier.

6. Increased transparency for all parties

Successful e-commerce organizations recognize that the customer experience does not stop after a click on the order button. Customers are treated to Track & Trace notifications via SMS or proactive updates in the event of a delay. With a TMS for Parcel solution you also can tap into this trend of maximum transparency. The system not only standardizes the Track & Trace communication across all carriers. It also recognizes when exceptions occur and immediately takes subsequent action.

“People are used to going over Amazon to track shipments, and that capability is now being carried over to B2B transactions.”

Bart de Muynck, research director Gartner

7. Central insight into the performance of carriers

Track & Trace information is not only helpful for the receiving party or a customer care team. The data also contains valuable information about the lead times of shipments. A TMS for Parcel solution uncovers this information via smart algorithms providing a unique insight into the performance of carriers (compared to SLA’s). Valuable information for every logistics manager.

8. Automated auditing of invoices

By comparing source data about shipments and insights from tracking data with carrier invoices, a TMS for Parcel system uncovers differences that translate into great cost-saving opportunities. Especially for high-volume senders who still perform limited or manual audits on invoices.

Conclusion

A TMS for Parcel is about flexibility. With instant access to multiple carriers users can respond to new developments much quicker. Examples include new customer segments or product lines requiring specific carrier services or competing carriers offering reduced shipping rates.

But a strong TMS for Parcel solution offers much more. By analyzing the enormous amount of logistics data, the system discovers unique cost-saving opportunities. Take the real-time selection of the most economical shipping option or the auditing of carrier invoices for example. This layer of data intelligence makes a TMS for Parcel more than just “a collection of carriers”. The system opens new avenues for cost-saving that remain closed if you opt for the traditional in-house integration of carriers.

Are you ready to discover more? Contact us for a free consultation. As a leading TMS for Parcel solution Logistyx Technologies helps enterprise shippers tackle their logistical challenges and discover opportunities to save costs and enhance customer service.

Ready to discover the logistics trends in manufacturing for 2020?

Download the white paper The 7 logistics trends that will radically change the manufacturing industry in 2020today. In this white paper, we cover the logistical trends that every manufacturer must acknowledge to remain competitive in today’s dynamic market.

Manufacturing Moves Closer to the Customer: 3-D Print and Ship Strategies on the Rise

get the white paper: 7 logistics trends that will change the manufacturing industry in 2020

From dealing with anxious customers and opportunistic middlemen to managing rising inventory and shipping costs, the challenges of after-sales maintenance and repair can mount quickly. However, as Logistyx President and Chief Sales Officer Ken Fleming points out in a recent issue of Manufacturing Today, some manufacturers are beginning to discover the combination of 3D printing with sophisticated parcel shipping management can help make these aftermarket frustrations disappear. In fact, Fleming elaborates that savvy manufacturers are finding the combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping management packs a powerful one-two punch that’s enabling them to:

  • Significantly reduce their inventory and production costs
  • Slash their shipping expenses
  • Accelerate delivery times
  • Provide a faster and on-demand customer experience
  • Say farewell to third-party resellers, long-distance carriers and other middlemen in their supply chains

Summarizes Fleming, “Looking ahead, we can expect to see more manufacturers re-evaluating the ways they service their customers, and taking advantage of the powerful combination of 3D printing and sophisticated parcel shipping to reduce their dependency on intermediaries, ensure the right parts are being used for repairs, and maintain closer and more interactive direct relationships with their customers and partners.” Read more in Manufacturing Today:Winning Combination: 3-D Printing and Sophisticated Parcel Shipping Management.”

D2C Distribution Model Creates New Challenges for CPG Manufacturers

The explosive growth of e-commerce provides greater opportunities for manufacturers to sell more to consumers and increase profitability. However, the pivot to online, direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution can be especially challenging for consumer-packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, who have traditionally followed a more linear, manufacturer-to-retail-store supply chain model. These manufacturers are often limited by sales channel partnerships with retail stores, forcing them to sell products and drive revenue through in-store sales. Despite the challenge, CPG manufacturers are increasingly leveraging a mix of online resellers, unique D2C distribution model offerings and strategic acquisitions to ease the transition and take advantage of this new e-commerce era.

Internet Retailer’s Findings Reveal Need for E-commerce Sales

Released earlier this month, Internet Retailer highlighted the latest e-commerce trends in a new report, 2019 Online Consumer Packaged Goods Report, which dives into key facts on e-commerce growth and the issues faced by CPG manufacturers.According to Internet Retailer’s recent story, “How e-commerce is changing the packaged goods market,” some key findings from the report include:

  • Online U.S. CPG sales rose by 35.4% in 2018
  • The overall U.S. CPG market is valued at $815 billion
  • Online sales for the U.S. totaled $58.6 billion last year – accounting for 11% of total U.S. CPG sales but 64% of the growth

With the e-commerce industry bringing in more sales growth, the report suggests CPG manufacturers must find creative ways to adapt their strategies without damaging store partnerships.

CPG Manufacturers Embrace Online Sales

Despite limitations, the report states manufacturers are growing online sales in several different ways:

  • Embracing online retailers/selling product mix elsewhere: CPG manufacturers can turn to online services such as Peapod or Amazon to gain more exposure with customers searching for their products. These digital marketplaces offer CPG manufacturers the ability to sell and ship products more quickly.
  • Get creative with selling new products: Big name manufacturers such as Coca-Cola and Mondelez International are creatively engaging in D2C distribution model operations with selective selling. They can offer products not available in stores to websites that sell exclusive/personalized merchandise, enticing customers to shop online. This tactic allows manufacturers to preserve positive relationships and maintain shelf space with store retailers while expanding online sales.
  • Acquisition of web-only brands: Some companies make major acquisitions for web-only retailers to leverage D2C operations. In May 2019, Edgewell acquired D2C shaving brand Harry’s in a $1.37 billion deal and Unilever made a similar deal in 2016 with the $1 billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. Thanks to acquisitions like these, manufacturers gain access to established D2C operations, providing consumers with more plentiful and efficient options to buy their CPG products.

CPG Manufacturers Leverage Parcel Shipping Technology to Quickly Shift to a D2C Distribution Model

Although CPG manufacturers face unique challenges when it comes to meeting shipping demands in the world of e-commerce, there are solutions to help them efficiently shift to online D2C fulfillment and mitigate the cost impact that accompanies high volumes of small parcel shipments. For example, a Transportation Management System (TMS) for parcel shipping can streamline and optimize parcel carrier procurement, fulfillment operations and customer service for CPG manufacturers. And with the ability to easily integrate the software into large planning systems, CPG manufacturers can quickly create a “one-touch” shipping ecosystem to meet both their freight and parcel logistics needs while controlling costs across the board. To discover how Logistyx can help manage the e-commerce fulfillment process, learn more about our multi-carrier shipping technology.

Logistyx TMS Enhances Transportation Planning

PL Developments recovers $1.5 million in transportation savings.

PL Developments (PLD) is a leading manufacturer of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals and healthcare products serving virtually every major retailer in the U.S. With manufacturing and fulfillment operations encompassing 12 warehouses and 1.2 million sq. ft. of space, PLD was managing transportation planning for 50,000 parcel, LTL and truckload shipments a year on a system it had outgrown.

Business Challenge

PLD’s transportation team was working in a decentralized manner, with carrier routing decisions being made by staff at each of its locations, who were relying on multiple, non-integrated systems to manage their work.

Solution

PLD already implemented Oracle EBS to manage much of its operations, but also chose Oracle OTM for LTL and TL shipments, Logistyx Audit to automate their freight invoices and the Logistyx TMS for their parcel shipping operations.Read this case study to find out how PLD integrated Logistyx shipping software and audit solutions with its Oracle ERP and OTM solutions to create a centralized platform that has dramatically streamlined transportation planning, audit and payment.

Logistyx Reduces Transportation Costs by 18%

MCT Manufacturer optimizes labor and materials, reduces transportation spend, and achieves 18% in overall savings.

Business Challenge

The world’s largest Motion Control Technology & Systems (MCT) manufacturer, needed new logistics technology to streamline and improve its global transportation network. With eight distribution centers and customers in 48 countries, the company chose Logistyx to meet their unique parcel shipping requirements. 

Solution

They implemented Logistyx TME with Oracle OTM with reverse routing, packing, manifesting and management modules deployed at 10 packing stations in multiple distribution centers. Logistyx was successfully deployed on budget within several months. With Logistyx, the MCT Manufacturer has reduced its overall transportation spend by 18 percent, as a result of streamlining operations, and reducing labor, material and carrier costs.

Contact Us for a Complimentary Consultation. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation today. You can contact us by phone at 877-755-2374 via email at info@logistyx.com

Logistyx Helps Craft Supplies Enhance Customer Service

Craft Supplies realizes a 2-month ROI on Logistyx multi-carrier shipping software.

Founded in 1982, Craft Supplies USA sells quality woodturning tools and equipment for wood turners – artisans who make products such as furniture parts, baseball bats, platters, bowls, pool cues and chess pieces. The company has established a thriving domestic and international business through catalog sales and via its online store: www.woodturnerscatalog.com.

Business Challenge

Craft Supplies was using a standalone FedEx® system and standalone U.S. Postal System (USPS®) system to ship packages, which made comparing rates and services a time-consuming manual process. Furthermore, the process required a dedicated employee to move between two systems to process orders, and they had to have additional training to handle requirements on international orders.

Solution

After the Craft Supplies team reviewed three systems, they ultimately chose the Logistyx Ship-IT™ multi- carrier parcel shipping system because of its speed and flexibility.Read this case study to find out how Craft Supplies achieved a 2+ month ROI by automating comparison of carrier rates and services via a multi-carrier solution.