How Advanced Manufacturing Is Relieving Supply Chain Pressures in Heavy Industry

How Advanced Manufacturing Is Relieving Supply Chain Pressures in Heavy Industry

Nov. 14, 2023
To alleviate supply chain challenges for spare parts, organizations in defense and commercial industries are now using advanced manufacturing to make metal parts and tools themselves, on demand, in locations much closer to their operations.

Businesses in industries such as defense, mining, oil & gas, heavy equipment, and heavy
manufacturing are in a tough position. Like other businesses, they face challenges created by geopolitical conflicts, economic uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and fast-changing customer demands. At the same time, they must deal with challenges ranging from remote work locations and tumultuous markets for their products to public perception of their operations.

Together, these challenges make it very difficult to achieve the levels of profitability, resilience, and
sustainability needed to meet shareholder demands and improve their image. No company can control the macro-level challenges that affect businesses globally. But businesses in heavy industry can resolve day-to-day challenges related to spare parts in a way that helps them achieve their business goals.

Spare parts are sometimes small in size, but they create big financial, operational, and environmental issues.

Maintaining a vast inventory of spare parts comes at a significant cost:


Storing spare parts eats into profits, but so do breakdowns.

In harsh industrial environments, parts wear faster and corrode sooner, which means they must be replaced and repaired more often. To anticipate any conceivable need, many companies store massive inventories of spare parts worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars at or near their facilities. The pre-emptive move is understandable. The cost of lost production and unplanned downtime can quickly reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Business resilience relies on spare parts that can be difficult to access. 

In heavy industry, operations and assets are often situated in remote areas, making it difficult to access traditional manufacturing and supply chains for spare parts and components. Getting spare parts where they’re needed is a complex and time-consuming process. Supply chains can be disrupted by global events, and there are numerous logistical difficulties transporting parts to remote locations in a timely way. If spare parts aren’t available when needed, productivity slows and can grind to a halt.


Transporting spare parts long distances increases carbon emissions.

It’s difficult for businesses to prove they’re committed to reducing their carbon footprint when thousands of spare parts are being transported long distances by air, land, or both. The need to construct, heat, and cool massive storage facilities for spare parts further erodes sustainability credentials.