Immunize your Supply Chain from International Shipping Disasters

"Oceans and lean production are not compatible." Womack and Jones, Lean Thinking
It may have seemed like a good idea at the time: send as much production overseas as possible to reduce manufacturing costs. But the effect of distance has proven to eliminate much of the benefit in the long run: everything has to be shipped and that process has persistent, inherent problems. Oceanic-shipped product is the weakest link in any chain towards lean production, build-to-order or mass customization.
Besides the issue of reduced speed, oceanic shipping also contributes to significant supply disruptions, many of these due to situations well beyond the expected storms or cargo loss. For instance, in 2002, a labor strike on the west coast caused a port-shut down for 10 days. Another example was a recent bomb threat on American ports; two suspicious discoveries in three days led to a massive port closure. Shipping containers piled up over weeks of delayed processing, costing over $60 billion in losses.  Inventory shortages spread throughout the manufacturing industry so badly that entire factories began closing.

Manufacturing products near your market or internally helps immunize your supply from international shipping disasters
  • Improve control over cost: With an outsourced supply chain, you'll have little visibility or control over the overhead costs of your suppliers. Their overhead actually has a significant amount of influence over the total cost of your part. If you're striving to implement lean production and reduce the total cost, you must increase the amount of oversight you have over each step of your parts' production. Domestic vendors for part manufacturing are closer by, with translates to greater visibility and oversight.  
  • Improve overall quality: If you've outsourced, you're familiar with quality specs like "acceptable defects per million". Here is where the difference lies between "quality specification" and "quality assurance". Just because you place an order for something does not guarantee you'll receive it. Without an assurance of quality, you have nothing to pass onto your customer but a risk. This requires more than screening parts for defects and promising there are only a few "bad guys" per million in the batch. One of the best ways to reduce manufacturing costs is to eliminate errors, mistakes, and recalls.
  • Improve the variety you offer: Build-to-order and mass customization nearly demand that you produce parts internally or very nearby in order to be quick and cost-effective. Otherwise your product line is heavily bogged down with too many high-overhead parts that suck resources rather than contribute effectively.
  • Reduce lead time: delivery time improves with shorter distance and fewer steps on the way. Domestic vendors for part manufacturing help you respond more quickly to your customers' need in cost-efficient ways.
  • Special tooling techniques improve close-to-home. Concurrent engineering is the concept of developing a product with the designer and manufacturing team working simultaneously. This allows them to synergistically each contribute feedback as the product is developed and produced to specialize it according to the process available. Being near one another, either in house or in the same time zone/geographical area exponentially improves the successfulness of concurrent engineering; a process that is difficult to achieve over communication and cultural barriers.
A domestic manufacturing vendor eliminates excessive shipping costs and delays
Here is the essence of a tight supply chain: the fewer stops your parts make on their journey to completion, the faster you can deliver them to your customer's location. It simply makes sense to eliminate long shipping time, costs, and the delays that can come with oceanic transport. Unique Tool and Manufacturing in the USA is based in Temperance, Michigan. They are known for innovative development, responsive communication, and quick delivery. They emphasize being a one-stop solution for custom assemblies, from design to final destination. To get more information on domestic vendors for metal part fabrication and manufacturing visit call 1-734-850-1050.
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