In this edition we feature an in-depth report that looks at the current state of manufacturing in New Zealand. The changes revealed are startling.
In short, we show how manufacturing has been turned on its head during the past 10 years with companies sending work to China to cut costs. However, this trend – says the report – can’t continue as China’s growing middle class raise pay rates, making the country less attractive for cut-price manufacturing.
On the upside, the report says manufacturing firms here are creating new business offerings that link products and services together. It seems New Zealand is becoming more of an assembler of products, and less of a creator. Are we the next China perhaps?
Engineering and manufacturing firms are also reducing their staff count by outsourcing anything they can, from payroll, marketing and distribution to IT and accounting. This trend is likely to have caused an apparent loss of jobs in the manufacturing centre. They have not been lost, just moved.
Elsewhere, Rob Stummer, managing director of IFS Australia and New Zealand, writes that while 3D printing may eventually allow firms to keep less stock on hand and create what they need, when they need it, the technology gives counterfeiters a free pass.
He warns that buyers will increasingly need to exercise caution when obtaining parts, to ensure they are buying the genuine article – complete with worthwhile warranties – and not fake parts made in someone’s garage from substandard materials.
Part serialisation will become far more important than ever before. The type of serialisation functionality normally associated with highly-regulated industries such as aerospace & defence, and medical devices, may become attractive to industry at large and adopted far more broadly, he says.
This can be achieved with an ERP system, so that when the 3D blueprints are downloaded for printing, there is a serial ID attached to it that corresponds to the serial ID in the ERP application.
As we have said before, the issue of counterfeited goods is a global problem that is rife in New Zealand. But all the time dodgy firms are prepared to buy knock-offs, undercutting respectable companies selling the genuine article, nothing will change.
From biscuits to aircraft parts, the knock-off brigade know no limits. People’s health and safety comes second to making a quick buck, and when it all goes wrong they close their websites and scarper off like the oily rats they are.
Have a great month.
Steve Hart, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org