The Backing Britain 2020 Live events have provided some interesting insights from a wide variety of industry experts and one of the keynote speakers, Andrew Boothroyd, head of logistics, engineering and future solutions at McLaren, had some interesting points to raise on manufacturing and logistics challenges.
Andrew’s keynote speech discussed the ways in which manufacturers had to adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic and the critical nature of the speed of response, particularly for the Ventilator Challenge. He discussed how companies of all kinds had to work together to rise to the challenge of supplying ventilators for the National Health Service’s Covid-19 response, giving an example of a components manufacturer that had component production-ready to roll by Sunday evening, having only received the request on Saturday afternoon. The component manufacturer than ran a three-shift operation, adapting its usual routines and processes to provide the items needed within a short space of time, without compromising on quality and consistency.
As Andrew said during his speech, it’s all about responsiveness, which is a philosophy that lies at the heart of our business here at AIS Vanguard. Many of the challenges for manufacturers he discussed in his speech, around adapting production processes and layouts, were operational concerns that we were able to help with during the pandemic. And our expertise, safety planning, lifting capabilities, M&E resources and logistics provision mean that we are still busy helping manufacturers to adapt as their business changes and they respond to their own customers.
Andrew also shared the challenges that faced McLaren when the pandemic told hold across Asia and Australia just before the Australian Grand Prix. With people, equipment and vehicles stranded in Australia, supply chains halted due to lockdowns, and mission-critical parts needed urgently, working with a logistics partner that could rise to the unprecedented challenges was essential.
Although these circumstances are quite exceptional, moving assets across borders to time-critical deadlines is part of what AIS Vanguard does for clients on a routine basis. During the COVID-19 crisis, we have been involved a wide range of re-shoring and asset move projects and, once again, that work is ongoing.
In response to a delegate question, Andrew also touched upon the considerations that Brexit throws up for British manufacturers, with uncertainty around moving assets, exports, and imports of components or materials. His response was very clear: manufacturers will need to depend on logistics partners with proven expertise in customs and moving assets across borders. His advice was to allow logistics partners to support robust procedures and that’s exactly what we do for our customers. Our teams are able to co-ordinate the movement of assets with our customers’ operational and commercial requirements, factoring in local compliance and documentation, to ensure the movement of assets runs smoothly and to an agreed timeline.
It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of a leading manufacturer and we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to hear these insights from a leader that works for one of the UK’s most iconic manufacturing brands.