US man­u­fac­tur­ers con­fi­dent in sup­ply chain

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MAINTENANCE MATTERS -

While 83 per­cent of man­u­fac­tur­ers in the United States have been ad­versely af­fected in the past by sup­pli­ers’ in­abil­ity to meet their needs, only one-third an­tic­i­pate a short­age of parts or ser­vices in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the ASQ 2017 Man­u­fac­tur­ing Out­look Sur­vey.

Sur­vey re­sults show 66 per­cent of man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­pect­ing a prob­lem with sup­pli­ers are work­ing closely with providers to re­solve i ssues, while 35 per­cent are work­ing with their sup­pli­ers’ com­peti­tor. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers are stock­pil­ing parts, while oth­ers are ex­pand­ing oper­a­tions to cre­ate the nec­es­sary parts them­selves.

“Sup­ply chain plays a crit­i­cal role i n man­u­fac­tur­ing, and com­pa­nies sim­ply can’t risk be­ing with­out the nec­es­sary ma­te­rial they need to be suc­cess­ful,” said ASQ Chair Pat La Londe. “Com­pa­nies need to care­fully con­sider mul­ti­ple op­tions when f aced with a short­age of ma­te­ri­als or sup­pli­ers that can’t meet their needs.”

More than 1,125 man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­fes­sion­als from around the world re­sponded to ASQ’s 2017 Man­u­fac­tur­ing Out­look Sur­vey, which was con­ducted on­line in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber. Re­spon­dents to the sur­vey rep­re­sent a mul­ti­tude of in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing aero­space, au­to­mo­tive, food, med­i­cal de­vice and more.

In ad­di­tion to questions about their or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sup­ply chain, the an­nual Man­u­fac­tur­ing Out­look Sur­vey also ques­tioned re­spon­dents about their fi­nan­cial out­look for 2017.

Nearly 72 per­cent of the re­spon­dents said they ex­pect an in­crease in their com­pany’ s rev­enue in 2017. And while 69 per­cent of re­spon­dents said their com­pany’s rev­enue in­creased in 2016, only 65 per­cent an­tic­i­pated growth in last year’s Man­u­fac­tur­ing Out­look Sur­vey.

Fur­ther­more, 74 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they ex­pect salary in­creases in 2017, up from 61 per­cent in the 2016 sur­vey, and 46 per­cent said they ex­pect their com­pany to in­crease staff, com­pared to 37 per­cent last year.

But while re­spon­dents are con­fi­dent their com­pa­nies will in­crease rev­enue, the econ­omy as a whole con­tin­ues to be the top hur­dle fac­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, more than 36 per­cent of re­spon­dents cite the econ­omy as their great­est hur­dle in 2017, down from 40 per­cent of re­spon­dents in last year’s sur­vey.

Oth­ers – just more than 30 per­cent – said the short­age of skilled work­ers will be their great­est chal­lenge, fol­lowed by reg­u­la­tory is­sues at 15 per­cent. Re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied un­cer­tainly about the gov­ern­ment di­rec­tion with a new pres­i­dent, global trade is­sues and de­creased de­mand for their prod­ucts as other ar­eas of con­cern.

Only seven per­cent said a short­age of nec­es­sary parts is their great­est ob­sta­cle. In fact, re­spon­dents are sat­is­fied with the qual­ity and avail­abil­ity of ma­te­ri­als, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults, which show 68 per­cent of re­spon­dents said qual­ity is the most im­por­tant fac­tor when con­sid­er­ing sup­pli­ers.

And when sup­pli­ers can’t pro­vide the nec­es­sary ma­te­ri­als, re­spon­dents said “don’t put all your eggs in one bas­ket .” Openly com­mu­ni­cate with sup­pli­ers to de­ter­mine any po­ten­tial risks, and have back- up plans – and backup sup­pli­ers – to al­le­vi­ate sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, 59 per­cent of re­spon­dents said their or­gan­i­sa­tion has a for­mal process to ad­dress sup­ply chain risk, whereas 28 per­cent don’t and 13 per­cent aren’t sure.

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