Manufacturing logistics and procurement – November 2022

01 December 2022

Trends and developments in logistics
DHL has published a report (53.3 MB) that maps the most important trends and prospects of global trade in goods. The report covers 173 countries, providing business intelligence for policymakers and industry leaders. The report shines a positive light on the resilience of global trade, despite recent shocks and market pessimism.
According to the newest Logistics Trend Radar by DHL e-commerce, digitalisation, sustainability and globalisation continue to change the way we do business. Enabling greener supply chains will be reflected into trends such as decarbonisation, alternative energy solutions, next generation packaging and circularity.
The Reshoring Institute has published research (1.5 MB) on global labour rates in 12 countries, comparing production workers, machine operators, manufacturing supervisors and managers. China can no longer be considered a low-cost labour country, as its labour rates have significantly increased. The lowest-cost countries in the study are now India, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Effects of film tension and contamination on the seal quality
A paper (598 kB) by the University of Twente entitled ‘Effects of film tension and contamination on the seal quality of flexible food packaging films made of polypropylene and low density polyethylene blends containing talc filler’ has been published in Packaging Technology and Science.

Packaging automation and use of digital twins
A paper (625 kB) by the University of Cambridge entitled ‘Transforming agrifood production systems and supply chains with digital twins’ has been published in the journal npj Science of Food.
Gerresheimer and AG Merck have jointly developed a digital twin solution to further ensure traceability and trust in crucial steps along the pharmaceutical supply chain. The proof of concept aims to transform the pharma supply chain by creating digital twins for primary packaging.
The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has designed a tentacle robot which can gently grasp fragile objects. It uses a jellyfish-like soft gripper that mimics the mechanics of curly hair.

Product traceability and counterfeiting
According to a Digimarc survey, senior business leaders recognise the need to overcome challenges including poor product traceability and counterfeiting, but largely have yet to embrace product digitisation efforts that can help solve those problems. Nearly 7 in 10 business leaders (69%) believe their digital transformation efforts are ‘advanced,’ with most businesses digitising processes and documents. But less than half of those surveyed (45%) say digitising products, characterised by adding digital identities or serialisation, is part of those efforts.
Researchers of UT Austin will be supporting the creation of a robot delivery network on campus, with the first deployments scheduled for early 2023. The researchers plan a five-year study focusing on what it takes to create, safely operate and maintain this kind of robot network, while also adapting with the humans who live and work around it.
ASTM has approved the creation of a new technical committee on digital information in the supply chain. The new committee (F49) will develop recommended frameworks, standards, best practices, and guides related to the sharing and use of digital information across the supply chain.

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