INDUSTRIAL INFO-TAINMENT Wiring Harness News MAY / JUNE 2022 23
Strategies to Protect Our Supply Chains
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Thus , supply chain insourcing and nearshoring strategies are currently on the rise to protect production systems from disruption . When evaluating the location and design of their production systems , it is important to weigh the benefits of low-cost labor against the vulnerability of the supply chain to disruption . Mid-market industrial OEMs are potentially more vulnerable with distant supply chains , as their production volumes and logistical requirements are too small . Nearshoring and insourcing strategies help eliminate supply chain risks including transportation bottlenecks and geopolitical risks , while providing the additional benefit of lower total inventory and improved responsiveness to changing demands .
Strategy 2 : Simplify and modularize wiring harness design
There is enormous potential in simplifying product design . The simpler and more common the designs , the smaller the need for different components . This allows us to reduce the impact of supply disruptions by reducing the complexity of our supply chain . We also increase the volume of remaining components and gain more purchasing power over our suppliers . Let ’ s consider a simple industrial product wiring harness . Here the rule is : as few different wire gauges , wire colors , end-of-wire terminals and connecting blocks as possible , the better the design for supply continuity .
This is especially true given the growing challenges industrial OEM manufacturers face . Disruptive technologies including connectivity and IoT are driving new connectivity technology and forcing many companies to redesign their electrical systems . OEMs should take this opportunity to also consider designing for automation by standardizing and modularizing their wiring harnesses .
Strategy 3 : Automation
Even before the pandemic , the labor supply in the US was sliding into crisis . The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2020 and 2030 , the number of people over 65 will increase by 17 million -- compared to 3.4 million for those aged 25-64 . This means a loss of up to 13.6 million working-age people . Covid exacerbated this problem by accelerating many retirements and causing many people to rethink their career choices .
Between 2018 and 2022 , Mexican minimum wages nearly doubled ( from 88.36 to 172.87 pesos per day ), while the exchange rate between the peso and the dollar remained nominally stable . As nearshoring continues in all industries and manufacturers look for local low-cost labor , the
Mexican labor market will continue to tighten , and costs will continue to rise .
In high-volume automotive wire harness production , it is understandable to continue to rely on low-cost labor , especially when the design is standardized and protected from disruption as described above . But industrial OEM manufacturers of lower-volume , higher-mix wire harnesses desperately need to push automation as Mexican labor markets shift to more efficient and profitable options . This will also be the best guarantee of security of supply .
In the last 10 years , automation technology has made great strides , with easier-to-use platforms with higher levels of automation and faster set-up times . Add to that a system with physical and digital services that ensures high overall equipment effectiveness , OEE . A good example of this is our customer SPIE Nederland B . V ., a subsidiary of the SPIE Group and independent European market leader for multi-technical services .
For years , SPIE produced the wire harnesses by hand , including cutting to length , stripping , and attaching ferrules . With the Komax Zeta 640 , SPIE got a flexible and complete automation solution that generated a lot of enthusiasm . “ Now the Zeta 640 assembles the wire harnesses for the assembler . So , they are ready in a short time while the mechanical part can be prepared . Everything can be prepared in advance , which reduces the lead time . We save 30 – 70 % on wiring time , depending on the number of wires per cabinet . With 100 , of course , the time saved is less , but with 4000 it could well be 70 %. We also benefit from having less product standing around . So we have more production space and therefore a higher capacity .”
Strategy 4 : Visualize and analyze with a digital infrastructure
The biggest challenge from the pandemic is the constant impact of unplanned production delays . If the lead time is extended but adhered to , we can at least plan around the new lead time to balance our production flow . But Covid also leaves us with bottlenecks in our own system . Fortunately , there is a solution to this provided by utilizing a digitally transparent production system . In his recent article , Dr Vishal Gaur of the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell ( NY ) explains how the Internet of Things ( IoT ) and blockchain technologies can be used to strengthen supply chains . This includes tracking and sharing production data using secure blockchain designs . This results in predictive models that can identify potential supply chain issues before they impact our production system .
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