Delayed orders, rush delivery rates, increased downtime and operator shortages are just some of the symptoms US boxmakers are experiencing with the global supply chain crisis in 2022. According to the recent J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI™, “Supply chain delays remained substantial in January, as average vendor lead times lengthened for the thirtieth month running.” Key findings in the report show, as of January 2022, the Manufacturing PMI is at a 15-month low – the lowest reading since October 2020.
Now with rising tensions in Russia and the China shutdown due to growing COVID-19 cases, the global supply chain has become even more concerning.
With box manufacturers struggling to get their hands on new equipment, parts, consumables, and raw materials, American OEMs are finding innovative ways to combat this global issue. At A.G. Stacker, we believe choosing the right corrugated machinery partner is key to minimizing the effects of these shortages and remaining productive and profitable during these uncertain times. In this article, we discuss three ways the right OEM can help maximize your operations amid a volatile supply chain.
Prepare With Digital Twin Technology
When crisis calls, U.S. manufacturers have always answered with technology and innovation – this global supply chain issue calls for the same. One tool that is extremely useful is digital twin technology. Digital Twins take the exact blueprint of your machine and recreate it in a digital format. The system is developed with a complete replica of the specifications, component configurations, operator interface and more, unique to each machine. This allows your team to run a multitude of simulations that can assist with:
Operator training before equipment arrival. Boxmakers can now train operators using the digital twin software, prior to equipment installation. Though OEM lead times may remain unsteady, operators can use the month(s) between purchase and installation to train. The faster your team is up to speed on the new equipment, the faster your operations can be more productive and profitable once the machine is in commission.
- Reduce waste and downtime by testing job runs through simulations. In a time of raw material shortages, no sheet can go to waste. Managers can now utilize digital twin technology to run new jobs with variable sheet sizes and shapes through the machine digitally. The simulations can help visualize areas of waste and inefficiency and inspire the most productive job configurations.
Digital solutions available to boxmakers expand far beyond digital twin technology. Mobile applications, virtual factory environments, and equipment in augmented reality are just a few new technologies manufacturers are also using to better plan and prepare for the unpredictable future ahead.
A.G. Stacker is among the first to apply and effectively utilize digital twin technology on commissioned machines in the corrugated converting market. With 3 digital twin assets and counting, A.G. is preparing the way with expanded business solutions tailored to the future of the industry. Learn about A.G.’s digital twin technology and other digital solutions, incuding the AG+ mobile app and AR/VR solutions, HERE.
Adapt With Custom Machining Equipment
Does your OEM machine, weld and fabricate all equipment in house? Or do they assemble the machine from parts and components manufactured outside of their facility? During a global supply chain predicament, equipment manufacturers capable of machining in-house have the upper hand, and so do the boxmakers that work with them.
When lead times become longer and longer, assembly-only manufacturers have few options but to wait on the parts and components they need to build the equipment, causing lead times to become excessive for their customers.
OEMs that manufacture 100% in house, like A.G. Stacker, have multiple options during material shortages and can quickly adapt to the supply chain environment. Machining OEMs can source steel, aluminum, brass and other raw materials from a variety of suppliers, rather than having a small pool of companies capable of manufacturing their exact parts. In emergencies, they can utilize readily available materials and machine them as temporary solutions until the raw materials arrive. Furthermore, with in-house engineers, OEMs can engineer retrofits and upgrades to adapt to the new global supply chain and reduce the need for unavailable materials.
When parts and components are in short supply, OEMs with custom machining equipment can innovate their customers through the logistic nightmares haunting their purchasing team.
With a large fleet of machining equipment and an army of skilled operators, assemblers and engineers, A.G. Stacker has helped converter customers navigate the unsteady global supply chain of the 2020s, successfully. A.G. also recently installed a COBOT welder and HAAS CNC system for more efficient parts manufacturing, reducing lead times for the road ahead. See how our team fabricates material handling equipment in house in this Manufacturing Marvels TV segment featuring A.G. Stacker on Fox News.
Accelerate With American-Made Equipment
As stated in the AICC 2022 Economic Report, “Supply chain constraints, raw material shortages and the spread of the omicron variant slowed activity in markets around the world.” As the COVID pandemic still looms over humanity, global sourcing has become a logistics horror.
Getting equipment, parts and consumables from manufacturers overseas often comes with long lead times due to the distance, trade constraints and paperwork associated with imports – and that was before the pandemic. With the added materials shortages in the global supply chain, boxmakers can easily fall behind on production goals while they are waiting, waiting and waiting for their international shipments to arrive.
Many US boxmakers are turning to quality, domestic manufacturers for solutions that ease logistic constraints and accelerate lead times. With less procedural barriers, faster shipping times and local technicians on stand-by, partnering with a local OEM could save a ship load of time and money. American corrugated OEMs also understand the unique landscape of manufacturing in the USA and are better prepared to help you navigate the road ahead.
Founded by Clarence and Helen Allen in 1996, A.G. Stacker machines and assembles all equipment and parts in our production facility in Weyers Cave, VA. Additionally, A.G. chooses American suppliers and technology vendors to partner with for quality assurance, synergy and collaborative innovation.
Prepare, Adapt and Accelerate through the Global Supply Chain Crisis with A.G. Stacker
As box manufactures forge through uncertain supply chains, A.G. Stacker is preparing the way with technology-focused solutions. From digital twin technology to digital service, A.G. has developed digital technology solutions that keep operations moving forward. With the creation of digital twin assets for the eBREAK Bundle Breaker, eTAMP servo-driven tampers and divert & separate system, A.G. customers can take advantage of the digital twin training simulations to prepare operators before equipment arrival and plan new jobs with efficiency.
A.G. will continue investing in more digital twin assets to optimize production planning and training for converters nationwide. Additionally, A.G. now offers expanded business solutions including VR, AR and a mobile application to empower converters with visual planning, training and collaboration tools.
A.G. takes great pride in being a 100% American manufacturer. All equipment, components and parts are machined, welded, and assembled in our Weyers Cave, VA facility, since inception. For 25 years we have remained committed to innovation in material handling equipment for corrugated board and have partnered with a network of American suppliers to support our production.
With advanced digital technology, in-house machining capabilities, and a domestic location, A.G Stacker is ready to help you prepare, adapt and accelerate through the global supply chain crisis of our day and beyond. Contact our team today to discuss your unique logistic challenges and production goals and we’ll collaborate with your team to innovate the best solution for your operations.
Committed to Innovation. Committed to Service. Committed to You.