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Recently, the 200-plus companies that use our software to power their digital supply chain processes have been, half-jokingly, pondering the same line during period customer success meetings: “If only CalcuQuote could create parts out of thin air.” It was asked often enough that we made it into our April Fool’s Joke of 2022.
Since our inception in 2014, we have been solving supply chain challenges. Before it became a running joke of creating parts from thin air, we saw the data signaled trouble ahead. The data showed that component shortages would increasingly worsen until the flow of materials became unreliable, so we decided to devote a significant amount of our resources to solving this very serious issue. I’ve put together a framework that can be applied to supply chain disruptions and which demonstrates how a more digitally connected supply chain can help.
There are four stages of supply chain disruption. As disruptions become more prolonged, they require different solutions.
Figure 1: It’s useful to recognize the stages of a supply chain disruption.
Stage 1: Search Wider
This stage of supply chain disruption is characterized by components still being available in the marketplace, but not necessarily easy to locate. Maybe your most preferred suppliers no longer have the part, but a secondary supplier does, or maybe the supplier asks you to check back again later for updated lead times.
Real-time API Integration
It’s important to access real-time, account-level data via application program interfaces (APIs). These provide the ability to access stock availability, lead times, costs, and more by using your contract information. Accessing real-time data allows you to gain knowledge about the details that matter in a precise moment while keeping you up to date on any sudden changes.
Contact Off-line Suppliers
Another best practice: Stay seamlessly connected to your supplier representatives who don’t have API capabilities. As you rely more on a broader supply base, managing this process through email will not be easy. Look for shared digital workspaces where you can manage communication between you and your suppliers so that both parties can stay organized and collaborate more seamlessly. This creates clearer and more efficient communication so you can focus on making the right decisions together.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the August issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.