BFPA 2024 Yearbook & Members' Directory 2024 55 potential of their hydraulic machinery but without the complexity of costly consultancy. Make it BLUE® has been developed following consultation with many customers, who benefit from a more integrated approach to product customisation. We are now formally offering this process by combining 60 years of sales, engineering and manufacturing experience. UK sourcing Webtec has never bought a lot of production parts outside the UK. Sometimes, we source parts from the US or Germany but not a great deal. The exceptions have been around castings, whether that’s hydraulic castings or die castings for boxes. We tended to source some of these from Eastern Europe or East Asia. We don’t buy a great deal of these, but it’s become clear as designs have changed that we would look to buy these locally within the UK. If you look at the cost of buying castings locally what you find is that once something is in production, and you compare the unit price, and factor in the shorter lead time, lower WIP and often better communication, it’s the same price as buying it overseas. Benefits of sourcing from local suppliers The difference is the tooling cost. The cost of getting the tooling set up in the first place is undoubtedly higher if done in the UK. However, if you amortise that over a few years and allow for the fact that you tend to have a better relationship with more local suppliers, Industrial Internet of things or Industry 4.0 is understood and how companies think they could derive business and/or operational benefit. The temptation might be to think of this type of technology as something that arrives on the shop floor wrapped in a bow with IIoT or Industry 4.0 etched on the box. However, I don’t believe it’s quite like that. It’s more a case of pinpointing an aspect of digital functionality that can be applied to your business, whether this is to advance your analytical ability to improve design, production, or maintenance performance, or how to further improve how you manage stock and the supply chain in general. There are advantages to be had in this respect. It’s just a case of defining your precise needs in the first instance, then seeking the solutions to improve these needs. Monitoring developments For example, we see a lot of interest in chatbots and frequently asked questions assistance on websites. I think people will increasingly go to a supplier and say they need a specific variation of a product, and the supplier can offer this quickly using production techniques enhanced by AI. So, I think digital transformation is here, will continue to be refined at a faster and faster pace and will be increasingly adopted within industry. At Webtec, we are certainly monitoring all these developments. together with getting better product quality, then a more local supplier makes sense. Also, if you have an issue with parts supplied by a company that is 3000 miles away, and you’ve never seen the tooling they use, then it becomes somewhat of a no brainer to seek proven suppliers in the UK. So, again, the UK has many strengths in terms of quality, relationship, and service. Digital transformation Digital transformation is also taking place progressively within many UK companies, including Webtec. However, I think the challenge is how technology such as the CV120 combination valve – variable priority flow divider with directional control. CTA – automotive ready hydraulic system flow monitor.