As we continue on with the various scenarios manufacturing and supply chains find themselves in, I urge businesses to also think of the potential future challenges. With the restrictions off and Government giving a open order quantity for those manufacturing vital equipment, setting supply chains in motion have proved a challenge with design details and materials. No doubt compromises will have been made but, we must review these issues to realign standards and build on the lessons from which we can gain through this involvement of others. It would be terrible to miss vital delivery's due to a single small detail, but even worse to trip over that detail every time there after. Hence document, change and innovate solutions in to a future formal standard.
Beyond this be mindful of the demand drop off, it is a proud and exciting moment for manufacturing to display its capability to adapt and be relevant to the worlds needs but this is an exceptional spike in specific demands and industry and wont last forever. At some point delivery will have met demand and the open order will need to be abruptly closed. When demands get cancelled where will your materials, resource and costs be left? Ensure you have agreed cover for all material costs or an ability to sell materials on to OEM's for future requirements to prevent being left with resources that are unable to have costs recovered on.
For those who aren't so fortunate to have work at the moment and for the future of diverse businesses who will return to their product norms, hopefully all, in particular SME's can last this out. If so the state of their supply chains and capability needs to be assessed now in readiness for it's own spike in demand for a return to growth and supply projections. This will be the key test to interconnected supply chains and their relationships. It is now necessary to use statistical forecasting and supplier to client collaboration for painting a view of key demands and aligning sales and demand capacity constraints. Around this plan and book your logistics, it is even more costly to not be able to ship and utilise goods due to a lack of transport.
What products will be truly needed? What is the expected volumes? Do you have a fully understood map of the complete supply chain even beyond your immediate suppliers and customers and truly understand all interdependent relationships? What logistics constraints are involved? What materials have commonalities or could truly be minimised to a standard? Can materials be changed or modified to suit the current supply? This includes bolstering supply by means of a more diverse supplier base.
These times and way beyond will require an increased trust and openness, may be out of this we truly could achieve Industry 4 due to the need for helping each other and breaking down of barriers the world so desperately requires to keep the current state of economy afloat. Technology may then be allowed to facilitate our information and data needs with a precision that has long been over due and with a capability dynamic enough to deploy our focus where necessary.
For now I wish all industry's luck in striking the balance and encourage a pragmatic and open approach. Don't be too proud to ask for help or too ignorant to think it doesn't matter. We are all in this one together.