Pay attention to Windsor Logistics Manager, Brendan Jones

Windsor Logistics Manager, Brendan Jones, explains how strong customer partnerships are helping to overcome challenging market conditions

It was a relief when many of the covid restrictions in the UK were lifted and eased across much of Europe, bringing an expectation of improvement in the supply chain. Despite this positive move, it is worth bearing in mind the restrictions and blockades still in place in many parts of the Far East and their lasting impact on everything from factory capacity to supply availability. These factors cloud some of the positivity.

Coupled with this are ongoing component shortages driven by phenomenal growth in the 5G, cloud computing, infotainment and consumer electronics markets. The ongoing global trend towards miniaturization and digitization during the pandemic has increased demand. This applies to component manufacturers in all industries, including consumer electronics, electric vehicles, healthcare and power generation. Events in Ukraine and Russia have compounded the problem of limiting the supply of raw materials in an already constrained world. This has created additional factors that need careful consideration when planning for effective implementation in a challenged supply chain.

As the electronics industry advances, supply and logistics are currently the biggest challenges for electronics contract manufacturers to meet customer requirements. To some extent, Note has mitigated some of these challenges through its proven Kanban model and, more recently, increasing inventory to ensure component availability.

The first point where these conditions are felt is the supply of components. Essentially, Note’s ability to deliver in an efficient and timely manner is paramount. In many projects, the 80/20 rule applies. Approximately 80 percent of the components are readily available and can be sourced relatively easily, while the remainder require additional work to be sourced from reliable and approved sources. The last few components are what determine when the project enters the production stage, so planning is critical.

Because the component market is so volatile, delays can occur at any stage of the procurement process. Depending on when it occurs often determines how it is mitigated. Although the market is unpredictable, there are many options for using the local Note Windsor sourcing team or the central sourcing team within the wider Note group to leverage sourcing.

If a delivery delay affects schedules by only a few days or perhaps weeks, robust scheduling programs can often accommodate this. Sometimes the delay doesn’t occur until quite late in the planning process, meaning that materials may already be installed in preparation for assembly, awaiting the final element. The key to avoiding this is looking at the BoM early to ensure a good understanding of lead times and ordering ahead of time.

If there are last-minute BoM changes from the customer, we can work with them to look at component availability and cost using our in-house software that analyzes BoM lead times, obsolescence and costs.

In these unusual times, it is the partnerships and relationships of trust we have fostered with customers and suppliers that are helping to weather challenging market conditions.

Customers are asked to plan as early as possible to reduce global lead times. Customers understand this and support us by providing the same to ensure that together we can meet the challenges ahead.

Navigating supply chain challenges

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