Investigation into re-shoring UK manufacturing using additive manufacturing as a method to enable manufacturing postponement
2017-01-16T16:14:33Z (GMT) by
This thesis describes case study research investigation into re-shoring UK manufacturing using Additive Manufacturing as a method to enable manufacturing Postponement. After identifying the gap in the knowledge by conducting a literature review, the author aims to understand the primary motivation behind the re-shoring phenomenon in the UK. The initial investigation is done by targeting the UK based organisations that have been involved in supporting the re-shoring phenomenon. As a result, lack of responsiveness was found to be the key factor behind re-shoring in the UK. This is then followed by an investigation considering this issue from countries to which manufacturing has been offshored in the past, in particular, India. The research studies the factors that influence this decision from Indian industries perspectives and investigates what the key issues are behind the lack of responsiveness in India. This is whilst India is one of the most attractive offshoring destinations among the other low-cost countries. This introduces the next objective of this research which is to identify a strategy that could help the industries to address such issues. Consequently the concept of Postponement was selected as a strategy and Additive Manufacturing (AM) was identified as a manufacturing method that could enable Postponement. Such a combination can enable companies to shorten their lead-time and be more responsive to their domestic customers. This study also develops a clear picture of re-shoring in the UK and bridges this phenomenon to the new generation of technologies and emerging mega trends. It particularly focuses on AM technologies as an enabling manufacturing method the Industry 4.0. The results obtained from the survey study indicate that there is a positive view towards applicability of AM technologies within the supply chain of the re-shoring companies. The final section of this thesis aims to iii provide a series of case studies where AM technologies are used to further enable companies to reduce their lead time and achieve more customisation. It shows that the companies can re-shore their production activities back to the home country by using AM technologies and engage in a local supply chain. Therefore this study adds insight into manufacturing challenges related to re-shoring and provides a potential solution for the companies that are involved in the production of high value added production. The results from this section indicate that the re-shoring companies will be capable of accommodating product changes and process changes. They can also reduce their inventories, production lead-time, and transportation costs, meanwhile increase product customisation.