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Manufacturing’s Supply Chain Check List

Mistakes do happen but are some errors that simply must be avoided to insure an efficient supply chain leading to success.

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note: Mark Dohnalek is President & CEO of Pivot International, the Kansas-based global product development, engineering & manufacturing firm. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Across the supply chain, there are multiple moving parts going in all directions inside a continuous and intricate process. But it all starts at the manufacturing center which means avoiding mistakes here is key and here’s why. If there is a corrupt part or process in the manufacturing phase – it will entangle, trouble and create difficulties that can seriously impair outcomes and damage success. Mistakes do happen but are some errors that simply must be avoided to insure an efficient supply chain leading to success. Below are the top Do’s & Don’ts to eliminate or greatly curb the chance of mistakes:

Don’t improve a process if it is already going well. The famous saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” couldn’t be more true than it is for manufacturing.  Don’t focus on minor improvements for the present if you are fulfilling your goals and reaching set outcomes. Instead, spend time with innovations that are brand new and advanced enough to generate huge differentials in savings and speed.  It is much more important to be prepared for overhauls that will be necessary in the future rather than coming up with solutions for right now especially when you don’t have a problem.

Do keep track of the Big Picture.  When priorities and shifts in direction require improvements to existing operations, review every step instead of concentrating on only one area.  Here’s why. While it may appear only one section or task needs revamping, this will likely shed a light on other weaknesses. If it appears that one step needs adjustment, likely all steps will, so examine your entire manufacturing process every time.

Don’t overbuy materials.  It might seem like a better-safe-than-sorry idea to buy more materials than you need, especially if the price is right. But, that cost has the potential to increase dramatically in terms of storage, insurance, and security. And, if your customer demand changes or new tested materials are now preferred, you will be stuck with inventory you no longer will want to use. Buy soundly based on past sales but always with the unexpected in mind.

Don’t focus on production rate over customer satisfaction.  Speed is critical when demand is up but never at the expense of quality.  And, don’t think your suppliers and customers won’t notice because they will.  Fast production with uncontrolled quality can impact your branding, inventory flow, and goodwill across the entire supply chain.  Have a system that satisfies quality control while meeting logistics deadlines and customer deliverables.  The key is to manufacture the best products possible rather than the most of a product you can make.

Do embrace flexibility and ask for help.  Forecasting and budgeting are vital but paying attention to the marketplace is just as critical. Get feedback from vendors and customers, monitor social platforms, read product reviews and comments on related articles.

Most importantly, interact with people in the channel to stay flexible and swiftly adjust. Talk to your trusted group of supply chain partners often because they will bring fresh ideas that will help you, and ultimately, help them.

 


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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