ED SAYS

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

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 edi­tor@demm.co.nz

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