In this interview with TechBullion, Anirudh Reddy, Head of North America Business at Zetwerk Manufacturing talks about the role technology is playing in enhancing global manufacturing and minimizing supply chain disruptions.
Please tell us more about yourself.
My name is Anirudh Reddy. I joined Zetwerk in 2019 and have built Zetwerk’s North American Business from scratch, expanding the company’s customer base and manufacturing footprint in international markets. Before joining Zetwerk, I led electric vehicle battery development & industrialization at Ather Energy. Prior to that, I worked at Eaton Corporation as a part of the Leadership Development Program, spending time in the automotive and solar business units. I have a dual degree (BTech & MTech) in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Energy Technology from IIT Madras.
What is Zetwerk and what unique manufacturing services do you provide?
Zetwerk is a global source for manufacturing industrial and consumer products, offering a wide variety of manufacturing capabilities to large Fortune 500 and small customers alike. We make manufacturing and global sourcing seamless, aided by our Manufacturing OS software. Zetwerk has built a wide spectrum of industry-specific manufacturing solutions across multiple geographies.
Some unique manufacturing services Zetwerk provides include:
- An asset-light approach, which allows us to offer many different manufacturing processes and capabilities under one roof. Traditional asset-heavy manufacturers are capacity and process limited.
- A manufacturing footprint in multiple geographies (India, Vietnam, China, Mexico and the U.S.), so customers can truly diversify their supply chain by leveraging both near-shoring and off-shoring opportunities with Zetwerk.
- Proprietary software and technology to digitize manufacturing and supply-chain operations. One example of this is work-in-progress photos of the job; with our technology, we provide customers with real-time status updates. Our customers can see what stage of completion their product is at, whether raw material has been procured, manufacturing has started, or painting is complete.
What is the current global market size of the manufacturing industry and what are the trends to look out for in this market?
The global industrial manufacturing market size is estimated to be valued at about $842.5 billion by 2027. A huge trend that will only continue to grow in this industry is the digital transformation of the entire ecosystem. I feel that digitization will help companies build resilient supply chains by enabling real-time visibility and transparency. This allows companies to act proactively to mitigate potential disruptions.
Another interesting trend that I’ve noticed is companies who have been sourcing domestically (U.S.) are looking East to take advantage of the low-cost Asian manufacturing, also known as “off-shoring”. On the other hand, many companies that have been sourcing off-shore are heavily reliant on China. To diversify, these companies have been looking at alternative tariff-free and cost-effective manufacturing destinations, also known as “friend-shoring”. Other companies are trying to bring some pieces of the supply chain back to the U.S. or Mexico to avoid uncertainties and disruptions caused by global logistics, also known as “near-shoring” or “re-shoring”. The current trend is to find the perfect balance between “near-shoring” and “off-shoring” in order to create a diversified and resilient supply chain.
Zetwerk, with a manufacturing footprint in India, Vietnam, China, Mexico and the U.S., offers a unique combination of “near-shoring” (U.S. & MX) and “off-shoring” (India, Vietnam & China) supply chain solutions to its customers.
What are the multiple blockages disrupting global supply chains, could you give us more insight into these issues?
I see four main disruptions, including:
- Covid-19 continues to disrupt supply chains in China, which might continue for a prolonged time.
- Global logistics continues to remain in a state of disarray. Hundreds of container ships are consistently waiting to berth outside of major ports around the world.
- Freight costs have surged over 7-10 times higher than during pre-covid times.
- Local manufacturing capacities have choked as a result of a sudden increase in demand. Companies are now trying to navigate ocean freight challenges by quickly switching to high-cost domestic manufacturing.
Highlight some of the notable technology innovations enhancing the global manufacturing industry.
With advances in robotics technology, industrial automation is being deployed at an ever-increasing pace to reduce human involvement in repetitive and/or hazardous tasks, thereby reducing manufacturing costs and increasing safety. Additive manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing and Direct Metal Laser Sintering, are making it possible to manufacture components with complex geometries from anywhere, with no minimum quantity thresholds.
However, the digitization of traditional manufacturing processes and associated supply chains is probably the innovation that underpins all other trends. Digitization is helping solve problems associated with communication across geographies, quality control, real-time visibility, inventory management, and logistics.
Zetwerk is using OS software to maximize efficiency in manufacturing operations, tell us more about this software and how it works.
Zetwerk’s Manufacturing OS (Operating System) comprises a suite of proprietary software tools. These software tools cohesively work together to enable many things, including cost automation, real-time visibility & tracking, single-click payments, and more.
Zetwerk’s project management tool ZISO helps track the progress of projects from receipt of order to delivery. Its associated mobile app, ZeTracker, further enables our on-site employees to provide real-time visibility by uploading manufacturing progress updates against planned milestones, work-in-progress pictures, etc. At Zetwerk, we understood early in our journey that digitization was necessary in order to grow and manage operations at scale, keep our customers happy, and to differentiate ourselves from traditional manufacturers.
Who is Zetwerk and why must customers use your services? Any success stories to share with us?
Zetwerk is a global source for manufacturing industrial and consumer products, offering a wide variety of manufacturing capabilities to large Fortune 500 and small customers alike. We make manufacturing and global sourcing seamless, aided by our Manufacturing OS software in the back end.
One success story that comes to mind is about one of our U.S. customers that was caught off-guard when their primary domestic source of aluminum extrusions stopped allocating capacity towards its production. Zetwerk mobilized its global network of aluminum extrusion factories and restarted supplies within three months of being awarded the project. Not only did we save them from a costly line-down situation, but we also transferred a significant portion of their aluminum spend off-shore for the first time, generating cost savings overall.
What specific manufacturing industries do you cover at Zetwerk, do you have any recession-proof solutions for both industrial and consumer products?
Zetwerk works with customers from a wide variety of industries such as Aerospace, Automotive, Solar, Wind, Consumer Goods, Construction, and Industrial Machinery to name a few. While we manufacture a product off-shore (in India), we hold an inventory of finished products on-shore (in the U.S.) based on the customer’s demand forecast. This allows the customer to get the best of both worlds: low-cost Asian manufacturing along and short-lead domestic supply. We call this Zetwerk Managed Inventory (ZMI), and it guards our customers against disruptions in global logistics. Such solutions, coupled with Zetwerk’s digital-first approach, allow us to provide disruption-proof services to its customers around the world.
Are there any available opportunities for investors and partners at Zetwerk? Do you have any more information for our readers today?
For more information about Zetwerk, please visit zetwerk.com