Michael Wolf, speaker of the VDMA Business Advisory, first went into the price development of different products and materials. After extreme increases in the first half of the year, prices – for steel, for example – fell again in the second half. The new cost drivers are the rising energy costs, which, for example for aluminum, make production in Europe almost impossible. The machinery and plant engineering sector itself is not very energy-intensive, but is being hit by cost increases in the energy-intensive supplier industries.
Designing more stable supply chains in a changing global environment
The industry has been struggling with supply problems since 2020, which escalated further in 2022. The biggest bottlenecks today are in electrical engineering and electronic components. In many cases, manufacturing companies do not expect the situation to ease until after 2023. Securing security of supply in one’s own company is therefore currently a top priority.
The design of more stable supply chains first requires an analysis of the effects of the failure of certain materials and how high the risk of this is. A material group strategy with diversified procurement in the form of dual sourcing and a more intensive evaluation of suppliers, also with regard to their procurement policy, can help to set up a more stable supply chain. Flexibility with regard to the specification of parts can help to substitute missing parts and the reduction of the variety of parts facilitates the plannability of the demand and also the economic design of processes and warehousing.
In the concluding discussion, it was emphasized that at the moment there is an internal willingness within the company to increase storage space. However, it is a question of time before this internal company attitude decreases again and purchasing has to plan materials management more cost-effectively again. A central message of the event is to bring purchasing into a more balanced position.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is implemented by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).