Your business depends on a fluid and consistent supply chain. Without an efficient supply chain and timely availability of parts, your business growth and profitability are at risk. This past year the electronic component supply chain has been hit by a number of disruptive events, some of which could not be foreseen or controlled. A few of these notable events were;
- First, an earthquake, in an important semiconductor region of Japan, greatly effected production at Renesas Semiconductor, Sony Semiconductor, and Mitsubishi facilities
- Also, a cluster of quality issues at Amphenol Aerospace caused the company to halt distribution of many products as well as lay off over 90 people.
- Additionally, one of the industries largest distributors, Avnet, struggled with the implementation of their new ERP system, causing them to delay shipments and double ship orders, which contributed to a cycle of other negative consequences.
As you may have experienced the repercussions of these few events first hand, or others like them, you know the impact it can have on your business. However, there are a number of ways to prepare for disruptions in the supply chain prior to an event. The smartest way to minimize disruption is to pre-prepare your contingency options for sourcing alternative materials. Doing your research by interviewing reliable alternative materials providers could be the difference between continued up time or a manufacturing disaster. Then begin to build partnerships with your emergency supply chain resource partners and proactively create contingency plan scenarios if resource needs were to arise.
When picking an electronic components supply partner, it’s critical to evaluate a few aspects of their business. Consider the time they have spent in their industry. It is important that the organization has years of experience solving nearly any type of supply chain crisis or disruption? Also, investigate their quality system by performing an audit. Many of the alternative sources are not souring their parts from the manufacturer directly, therefore it is essential that you understand their quality processes. Make sure to take a close look at their counterfeit mitigation plan, as a counterfeit would lead to even worse circumstances than a lack of supply. Ideally a supplier would be certified to the AS6081 counterfeit avoidance standard in order to give you peace of mind. Lastly, ensure they are able to source and deliver in a timely manner. Some of the most reputable suppliers have multiple offices around the globe to maximize the availability and speed of delivery to key partners in critical need.
So with prior planning and proper vetting of supply chain partners, manufacturing down time can be minimized, or even avoided. Naturally, the less down time, the more profitable and efficient your manufacturing operation can be. The end result will be a stellar business reputation and a satisfied executive management team. Investigate those potential partners and put your plans in place to secure your production line.
Robb Hammond is the President of AERI and the former chair of the Aerospace Industry’s Counterfeit Electronic Components Mitigation Standard for independent distributors, AS6081, which has become one of the industry’s most respected documents, as well as being adopted by the Department of Defense. Robb is one of the foremost thought leaders in the industry on counterfeit detection and speaks regularly at conferences around the globe.