Helping telecoms overcome logistical challenges and improve sustainability #Manufacturing #Mobile #World #Congress #Barcelona

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier last year, many of the presentations focused on the need to improve sustainability.

What’s more, it has become obvious that the needed lead times are short in telecom and thus it is very important to overcome logistics challenges, such as supply chain disruption. When facing two large challenges, it is easy to view them in silos and look for solutions to tackle each individually. However, by taking a holistic approach, both challenges can be tackled at once. Here, Juha Pesonen, segment owner at global composites manufacturer Exel Composites, discusses how partnering with composites companies with local manufacturing capabilities can improve sustainability and reduce logistical difficulties.

Transporting goods continues to be a big issue for telecoms companies as major supplying countries in Asia, are still facing significant disruptions at ports because of coronavirus measures, impacting global imports and exports. As a result of this, in some cases, logistics costs can be multiple times what they were pre-covid. This is then combined with increasingly long lead times on deliveries, with ship transportation of goods from China to the US taking around two months on average. This is too long for telecoms players and could lead to them losing out to competitors, who can deliver quicker.

Globally, there has been a significant shift in manufacturing preferences post-covid, with most businesses increasingly preferring to purchase from local suppliers, reducing lead times, potential disruptions, and overall costs. Furthermore, many businesses are looking to diversify their supply chains, so they are less vulnerable to changes in market environments that cause disruptions. This is particularly true in the US, where President Biden has introduced legislation, such as the Made in America plan, to support US manufacturing capabilities with financial incentives. In the US in particular, it is becoming increasingly more viable to partner with local telecoms manufacturers, instead of following the traditional route of importing from China.

Logistical issues go hand-in-hand with sustainability challenges. The traditional method of buying telecoms equipment from Asia and importing it to the US is generally a much more carbon intensive process than buying from a company with local manufacturing capabilities.

In any case, all locations cannot be reached along water ways or railways. Emissions are not the only criteria in the logistics chain in daily business and thus it is an evaluation between low CO2, flexibility, and lead time with selection of the proper means of transportation when each selection of transport is done. Optimizing the routes and planning ahead are key elements in the logistics chain. Finally, reducing the need for transport in the first place is the ultimate target to have both short lead times and low emissions. Therefore, those players that can manufacture where the products are needed have an advantage in both criteria.

Juha Pesonen, segment owner at global composites manufacturer Exel Composites

A holistic approach

Exel Composites has eight factories around the world, allowing us to manufacture telecoms equipment in a variety of locations, such as the US, UK, Finland, India and China. This means we can manufacture locally for customers, cutting lead times and the carbon emissions associated with transport. Exel combines this local manufacturing and support capability with the expertise of a global company, meaning it can support small and medium-sized companies looking to reach global markets with the same quality from all over the World.

For the US market, Exel offers local manufacturing and support capabilities from its facility in Erlanger, Kentucky. The factory allows US-based telecoms customers to source composite solutions locally, such as radomes for telecom base radios, that can be delivered in less time, while being more sustainable and cost effective, than the traditional approach of importing from the far east.

To find out more about Exel’s product offerings for the telecommunications industry, head to the website today.

Manufacturing Update