The shortage of raw materials is currently one of the main concerns of packaging machinery manufacturers. Not only are we being affected in terms of raw materials, but also the crisis of the shortage of electronic components. In the following, we will analyse the situation we are facing and how it is expected to develop in the coming months.
Shortage of raw materials continues to affect the industrial sector
As packaging machinery manufacturers, we are consumers of stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, etc., which are indispensable materials in the industrial sector, but we find ourselves in a raw material crisis that has forced us to run out of the necessary quantity for our activity. The problem arises when there is no supply of some materials and this is where the project has to be redesigned, which in turn leads to long delivery times. It also means that machine manufacturers have to be more flexible and able to adapt to the new reality in order to find alternative material supply solutions.
It is not only necessary to adapt to a new project, but also to existing ones. A high degree of flexibility is required in offering, for example, a spare part in the after-sales service, as this is a real need of the customer, and under normal circumstances, the solution would be immediate. However, nowadays, due to the lack of raw materials, we find that the component required by the customer is out of stock and/or has a very long lead time.
Similarly, the raw material shortage crisis affects us in terms of cost. For projects that are not yet up and running, the impact is usually less. For existing projects, we need to be able to offer a quick and efficient solution to avoid stopping the production line.
That is why we have to reinvent ourselves, try new materials to be autonomous, without depending on a product and be able to manufacture it thanks to other technologies, as is the case of 3D printers.
The future of machinery manufacturers in the wake of the raw materials crisis
To face with the raw material crisis as well as the lack of electronic components, companies have to take into account flexibility and adaptability to the new reality.
In this line, in Barcelona Packaging Hub, an association formed by manufacturers of high quality packaging machinery, we encourage communication between companies by sharing our concerns and problems regarding this crisis. Each of the companies that form part of the Hub contributes its knowledge with the aim of helping us all to find solutions: it has been the case of sharing components between associates. All the interrelation promoted by the Barcelona Packaging Hub has made it possible for us to find innovative alternatives together, thus allowing us to move forward with our projects.
Up until now, signs of improvement are beginning to be seen, but it is still not enough to ensure that the raw material crisis has been overcome. One of the consequences that has most affected the industrial sector is the restrictions on deliveries, because they have tried to place orders exceeding the needs (some orders have even doubled and tripled), which has led to shortages. Luis Villegas, General Manager of Effytec, and founding partner of Barcelona Packaging Hub, comments that the lead time used to be around 10-12 weeks, but now it has become 11-12 months. This means that it is not possible to offer a new project with guarantees, nor is it possible to ensure an immediate solution for projects that are already underway. In this line, we have seen that both the clients have cooperated and have done their part to offer materials, as well as the companies of Barcelona Packaging Hub have helped each other and have provided components.
As packaging machinery manufacturers, we must continue to look for alternatives and solutions. Next May, Barcelona Packaging Hub will attend Interpack 2023, the leading trade fair for the packaging industry, which tends to give a boost to the sector and is expected to attract a maximum number of attendees. This is why it is necessary to work on alternatives and be able to present new products to customers and, above all, to have the security of delivery of real deadlines and adjusted to the customer’s needs.
We invite you to watch the complete webinar on how Barcelona Packaging Hub companies are facing the crisis of raw materials and electronic components.