Have you ever experienced part shortages in your manufacturing supply chain? Was there ever an occasion when components such as OSRAM Optoelectronic products did not arrive on time or in the quantities you ordered? While it is easy to place the blame onto the vendor, procurement issues such as this are often symptoms of vulnerabilities in your own supply network that can be addressed by developing a more robust supply line strategy.
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Understand Who Your Suppliers Are
You may be able to readily name some of the primary companies that provide you with vital parts and materials. However, your supply chain goes much deeper than that. Each of those businesses has intertwining relationships with third- and fourth-party producers and businesses as well. Ultimately, you are connected in some way to all of them.
It quickly gets dicey. After all, a problem in a tiny tertiary vendor that you may never even have direct contact with could rock your whole line. For that reason, you need to understand your entire network. Only then can you get an idea of where vulnerabilities may lie and begin to prioritize them according to criticality to mitigate the worst of them. In instances when red flags suggest problems in a tertiary supplier that you are powerless to fix, you may need to sever the relationship with your main vendor.
Without understanding where you have been and the behaviors that have worked and failed, you will find that you are entering choppy, uncharted waters. Think of accurate analytics-driven forecasting as a combination compass and nautical map that you can use to guide your inventory and purchasing decisions.
Examine And Enhance Your Order Management Tracking System
With so many parts and components arriving at your production facilities on a daily basis, it is all too easy to lose sight of the details. Fortunately, automated order management and monitoring software can turn this herculean task into a manageable one. Best of all, your team can easily create targeted reports that can assist you in identifying kinks in your supply chain before they become full-blown interruptions. Ultimately, this proactive approach will result in customers who are happier because they receive their products on time and up to specifications.
Focus On Improving Communications With Suppliers
Does your team have a friendly, ongoing relationship with the various vendors who provide you with the raw materials and components that go into your finished products? If your answer is anything but a resounding “yes”, the time has come to focus on communications. To that end, you should make sure that all of your vendors understand your supply chain strategy and the role they play, including responsibilities and expectations for all parties, including you. Suppliers should be made aware of any regulatory requirements as well as the consequences of failing to live up to their contractual obligations.
Furthermore, your team should keep the lines of communication open. Schedule regular face-to-face meetings where concerns can be aired and ideas exchanged. If in-person meetings are not practical, make sure to have video conference calls among stakeholders. Your suppliers are an integral part of your team and should be treated as such.
A healthy supply network ensures that you can manufacture and transport the goods that make your company great to the people who want them in an efficient and timely manner. A supply line strategy that features forethought, collaboration, communication and modern monitoring technology can make this happen. Focus on the health of your supply line today.
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