According to an article entitled “The future of manufacturing -Making things in a changing world” by Deloitte Consulting, ‘Technological advances enabling modularity and connectivity are transforming products from inert objects into “smart” devices, while advancements in materials science are enabling the creation of far more intricate, capable, and advanced objects, smart or otherwise.’
Essentially, it addresses what those companies at the cutting edge of manufacturing have known for a while, namely that the old strategy of quantity production for high performance quality goods for as little as possible has been overtaken by economic change and customer demand for more targeted products. This has predominantly brought about by the arrival, at breakneck speed, of new technologies making possible what used to be unthinkable. Even in manufacturing, the Uber effect has taken hold and is here to stay.
One such example of this is the Oil and Gas Industry where the development of modularity has resulted in a more adaptive, cost efficient and effective industry, especially in view of the current reduction in oil production. In its 2017 report on the long-term downturn in the Oil and Gas industry Deloitte remarks that “around $680 billion through 2020 are estimated to have been deferred or cancelled as a result of the downturn, and the appetite for long-term and complex major capital projects has waned, despite a few notable exceptions. The impact of the extended oil price downturn will likely have long-term effects on the industry in a number of areas including capital allocation and people”.
Modularity has become the norm across the entire manufacturing spectrum and the hydrocarbon manufacturing business is no exception. In the face of the economic downturn, it has adapted and ultimately become more efficient giving the customer a better deal because of the cost effectiveness of making products in less time and at a far smaller scale. The most noticeable swing has been away from producing-to-stock in favour of producing-to-order. Large scale manufacturing capabilities are of course still available for when the current trend, as predicted, eventually reverses.
In the meantime, the result of this adaptability has directly resulted, for example, in the production and supply of highly-specialized capability units such as an entire range of locally manufactured industrial skids for the Gas & Oil industry. These specialized units may mean smaller output costs for the manufacturer however an equivalent balance of investments in specialist software and highly trained operators has been required by the industry and is a testimony to the speedy adjustments made by the affected manufacturers. Ultimately, clients benefit financially from this customization of new modulated manufactured products available to them. It can also be argued that it also brought wider economic efficiency, especially in regions like Saudi Arabia, where the necessity of intermediaries in the supply chain meant the slower delivery and bulk storage of manufactured goods.
Although manufacturing has had to develop new and targeted solutions in order to stay at the forefront of emerging technology it has also provided its own innovations in from within the maelstrom of change. Modularity has made it possible to operate coincident with this rapid change without it negatively impacting on their massive industrial investment by simply redirecting new investment toward a highly skilled work force, cutting edge software applications and its trained personnel and above all, flexible manufacturing capabilities.
In Saudi Arabia, one company in particular that has stepped up to the challenge in providing modular solutions is GSW. Not only do we have all of the above listed requirements, but also the added benefit of on-the-spot logistic facilities and considerable hands on experience in the business. GSW has already picked up the gauntlet and is currently providing its customers with bespoke solutions available to them locally from within our impressive 147,000 square metres facility in Jubail where we have the capacity to produce structural steel products at a rate of 4,500 tonnes a month.
With current operations in both Saudi Arabia and the GCC, we plans to take our pool of skills, experience and capabilities to the wider client base andhave our eye on expanding our services to the US, Europe and Asia.
Watch this space...