How to Avoid Supply Chain Bottlenecks

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Business Feature

The process of making and transporting the components that go into electronic items such as smartphones, computers and televisions is multifaceted, to say the least. In a global environment where manufacturing the end product must occur in a timely fashion if a company is to remain competitive, organizations cannot afford kinks and disruptions in their supply chains. Understanding the nature of these bottlenecks is the first step toward minimizing them or eliminating them altogether.

Over-Reliance On One Supplier Or Region

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, manufacturers are especially vulnerable if they get their materials from a single source. Electronics companies have been very susceptible to this phenomenon in recent months since many of the ingredients necessary to produce their end products such as semiconductors, chips and transistors are only available from a few companies in Asia. When China succumbed to the effects of COVID-19 and shut down many of its producers, the entire global chain was ruptured.

Communication Breakdowns

When a manufacturer does not understand its entire supply chain from end to end, including secondary and tertiary branch-offs, messages get lost or muddled in translation as they move up and down and across the network. That is why successful multinational corporations such as 3M have worked so hard to streamline their entire supply infrastructure. This extends from the source all the way to the final 3M products that have revolutionized their powered device, healthcare and consumer goods sectors.

Lack Of Technological Integration

Obtaining information in real time about the progress of production and delivery is a benefit that modern artificial intelligence and communications software can furnish to electronics manufacturers. If some or all of a company’s supplier networks is not integrated with the rest via these innovations, the entire interdependent web will be negatively affected. Investing in sophisticated communications and monitoring tools can markedly reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

Reduced Insight

This particular bottleneck producer harkens back to the supply chain mapping we have already discussed. When companies fail to have a clear view of all logistics operations, bills of materials, suppliers, protocols and international regulations, the potential for snags is heightened. That is why it is so important to invest both time and financial resources into keeping abreast of all these factors on an ongoing basis.

Poor Or Nonexistent Corporate Planning And Communications

When trying to reduce supply chain disruptions to the greatest possible extent, the importance of company-wide planning and dialoguing cannot be overstated. Everyone involved in the production process must be part of the strategic discussions designed to lay out the company’s schemes for moving forward in the upcoming months and years. A lack of clarity and transparency in this arena can result in confusion when departments unintentionally work at cross purposes with each other. Promoting collaboration not only with external actors but with the various disparate departments involved in the entire manufacturing milieu is vital.

Can supply chain bottlenecks be eliminated altogether? Considering the complexity of the array of factors involved, that seems unlikely. However, an organization can reduce their negative impact greatly by devoting time and resources to procedures that lead to efficiency, transparency and flexibility among all of the parties involved.

Share This