The manufacturing sector is facing a serious shake up with tech disruptions such as 3D printing, machine learning and robotics changing the way goods are designed and built. Although the fourth industrial revolution will bring new opportunities for people and machines to collaborate and improve current processes, it will bring with it supply chain challenges.

The benefits of this dawning era can only be achieved if companies assess and consolidate their supply chains. A lesser need for traditional warehouse space, increased capital mobility and the ability to manufacture on demand creates multiple incentives to bring manufacturing bases closer to key hubs, such as ports.

1. Reduced delivery times

The quicker goods reach the port, the faster they move to the next stage of the supply chain.  Shorter times make the supply chain more responsive to demand for faster, cheaper delivery. Embracing 3D printing and additive manufacturing, combined with fast and efficient distribution makes the supply chain leaner and more robust.

2. Minimise touch points 

Basing production next to logistics hubs reduces the stages in the supply chain. Cutting down on the number of gatekeepers can create efficiency savings and reduce risk to operations. Solving the first mile/last mile challenge the elixir for firm’s wanting to transform their supply chain into a competitive differentiator. We operate origin and destination ports, across 40 countries worldwide. Opening up opportunities to conduct value-added work in the first or last mile, to help perfect the ship-to-shelf process.

3. A single, integrated business hub

In the booming world of commerce, speed is king. Moving the manufacturing base to the port allows firms to integrate manufacturing, stock rotation and intermodal distribution in one geographical location. Introducing value added services on location and additive manufacturing can mean that the firm has the capacity to manufacture on demand and distribute almost instantaneously.

4. Go green

Embracing Industry 4.0 technologies can optimise efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability across the full manufacturing life cycle. If manufacturing hubs are located in ports offering an intermodal solution, you can benefit from greener more sustainable rail or barge transportation for your newly assembled goods.

5. Balancing the C’s

Cost, capital efficiency and customer service. Bringing manufacturing to port where raw materials can be imported and sorted, cuts out many of the actions in the traditional manufacturing supply chain. Manufacturing at port also provides greater transparency of cost in terms of customs and wastage.