Modular manufacturing delivers real benefits
The industry over time has experienced considerable consolidation, with some of the world’s most famous marques losing their independent manufacturing heritage. Many have become ‘brands’ within the stables of giant global businesses, with most now no more than automotive assemblers.
The industry has become far more efficient thanks to this economy of scale. And I would argue, the quality differential between those brands recognised as being near the top of the tree, compared to those further down has narrowed. Different brands, across the entire spectrum of perceived brand quality are now supplied by the same component manufacturers.
In times past, we have worked directly with some of the world’s biggest automotive brands as they moved from chrome plated steel components to the much lighter, more durable and cost-effective chrome-plated ABS parts.
More recently we have built relationships with renowned component suppliers who take a myriad parts list from around the world and deliver finished modules, of varying size and complexity for car ‘manufacturers’ to assemble into finished cars.
Our business is changing to reflect this gradual shift in manufacturing, which will undoubtedly spread across all sectors, keen to follow the successful lead shown by the automotive industry, particularly here in the UK.
Originally we were presented with a host of metal components for chrome plating, but gradually plastic took over once we could guarantee the same high quality chrome finish associated with steel. But, to achieve the high quality finish demanded by car manufacturers, plastic components have to be moulded specifically for plating, a fact lost on some moulders.
This insight and our experience of advising moulders led us into injection moulding components for ourselves, believing we could do it better and achieve a better quality plating. This growing aspect of our business has again changed, moving from a simple mould and plate operation, to the introduction of assembly processes in our Leigh-on-Sea facility.
Demonstrating the change on a daily basis, we now deliver small assemblies, involving plated and non-plated components for some of the world’s most iconic automotive brands. This transition to modular manufacturing is delivering many benefits for the motoring public, with quality, reliability and reduced pro-rata cost key amongst them.
I can’t help feeling this just proves that old dogs can learn new tricks and be the better for it.