Let’s Reconsider How We Run Supply Chains

A stellar panel at D&M West offer solutions to the persistent supply chain disruptions.

Rob Spiegel

March 31, 2022

3 Min Read
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Severe supply chain shocks have created material scarcity and increased lead time pressures for downstream suppliers. Raw material providers in plastics and metals, microchips, and electronics are at a particular disadvantage. These supply chain challenges have renewed calls for the global manufacturing sector to rebuild and reshore capacity, invest in new technologies, and confront an existential labor shortage.

A panel of industry experts in manufacturing will discuss how they approach supply chain challenges during the keynote panel, Can Manufacturers Rebuild the Broken Global Supply Chain? at 9 am on Wednesday, April 13 at Design and Manufacturing West in Anaheim.

Time to Re-Vision the Supply Chain

The panel will address needed changes in how manufacturers organize the flow of supplies. “As more manufacturers adopt smart manufacturing methods – increasing connectivity and data availability within their organizations – they are also realizing that a connected supply chain becomes a strategic competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Conrad Leiva, smart manufacturing chairman at MESA International – and one of the panelists – told Design News. “A report from Gartner predicts that in five years, 50% of large organizations will compete as collaborative digital ecosystems rather than discrete firms, sharing inputs, assets, and innovations.”

Related:Overcoming Supply Chain Issues While Reaching New Customers

Other panelists include Berardino Baratta, VP, project and engineering at MXD, Jeff Brown, VP of operations at Sonendo, and Kimberly Gibson, ecosystem director at America Makes. Panelists will discuss how their organizations view their role in the global manufacturing economy. They’ll also talk about initiatives taken by leading companies, NGOs, and governments around the world – and what it means for your company.

The topics covered by the panelists will include:

  • Approaches to global risk management and resiliency with a focus on governmental policies and their impact on internal financial and manufacturing quality controls

  • How data and automation technologies such as AI/ML, predictive maintenance, robotics, virtualization, and generative design can provide solutions

  • Balancing talent, technology, and culture for a winning team and a profitable process

  • The nuances of reshoring and nearshoring your assets and potential impacts on your bottom line

Collaboration and Integration

In order to overcome shortages and disruptions in the supply chain going forward, companies will have to revamp communication and connections with supply partners. “A new degree of collaboration and integration in new manufacturing ecosystems can enable not only enhanced visibility but also increased speed and resiliency,” said Leiva. He pointed to some examples of the incremental approach to improving the supply environment from the MESA International guidebook:

Related:Could Supply Chain Issues Be Easing?

  • Quality Tracking – incorporating smart digital attachments and measurement devices (e.g., calipers, gauges) to wirelessly transfer the measured values to a tablet SM app for the inspector and results are also communicated to the customer which is also a manufacturer in a multi-tier supply chain.

  • Material Requirement Tracking − real-time material availability status updates from suppliers to the shop and ERP to proactively avoid machine starving time due to material non-availability.

Catch Can Manufacturers Rebuild the Broken Global Supply Chain? at 9 am on Wednesday, April 13 at Design and Manufacturing West in Anaheim.

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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