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Hartford Technologies Blog

How to Eliminate Supply Chain Disruptions

Posted: Jan 27, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Is your business prepared for delays in receiving materials and components? Have you considered how to eliminate supply chain disruptions? If not, you're exposing your operations to significant business risk. Here are some thoughts on what to consider and how to prepare.

Anticipate Internal and External Manufacturing Problems

When manufacturers start thinking about potential supply chain disruptions it's often natural disasters and geo-political events they have in mind. Earthquakes, virus outbreaks, lightning strikes and wars (military and trade) usually make the list. These are valid concerns and it's right to prepare contingency plans, but there are other risks to consider. Here are some examples:

  • During assembly purchased items are found to be defective
  • A supplier reports a quality problem and needs to rework or replace
  • Production is halted at the supplier's due to an equipment breakdown
Each of these can bring manufacturing to a halt. In extreme cases they could result in a customer complaint or even force a recall. However, considering what might go wrong, (a Failure Mode Effects Analysis,) is only the first step in making plans.

Supply Chain Solutions

One way to eliminate supply chain disruptions is by holding buffer inventory. This is problematic, for several reasons:

  • How much inventory is enough? One week's worth? Three months? (What kind of disruption are you trying to guard against?)
  • Inventory requires space, which in turn needs heating and carries other costs.
  • Could the product deteriorate in storage? Would it need additional packaging or rust preventative?
  • Building inventory negatively impacts cash flow.
  • Design changes take longer to come into effect when there's substantial buffer inventory to consume.

An alternative is to partner with suppliers who address potential causes of supply chain disruption before they occur. This means looking for those who:

  • Have implemented rigorous manufacturing quality control procedures.
  • Manage manufacturing processes to drive out variability.
  • Can manufacture in more than one location.

Avoiding Supply Chain Disruptions Through Supplier Selection

The first step is to look for suppliers with ISO 9001 certification. This shows they have robust processes in place for managing both product design and manufacturing. Following on, it pays to take a close look at metrology and testing capabilities. These provide manufacturers with the ability to verify conformance of manufactured parts to design. Certification to IATF 16949 shows a manufacturer operates a well-run test laboratory.

Other capabilities to consider are lot traceability and ISO 14001 certification. The former enables prompt and focused response in case of any problems while the latter guards against supply chain disruptions related to environmental issues. Then look for those who have adopted Lean manufacturing. This surfaces problems immediately and enables a quick response rather than hiding them for a customer to find.

About Hartford Technologies Capabilities

Hartford Technologies takes a disciplined and methodical approach to ensuring product quality and supply stability. Our manufacturing procedures helps eliminate supply chain disruptions and optimizes costs, lead times and inventory. With a long history of manufacturing quality bearings and bearing assemblies you can be confident Hartford knows how to help keep their customers running.

To learn more Contact Us or Request a Quote.