Category: Supply Chain Briefing

Request for Help & Creativity for Manufacturers

March 30th, 2020

Since I relate to several different manufacturing and supply chain organizations, I’ve seen several requests for our expertise. Thus, I am passing them all on so that we can help fight this coronavirus by pulling together our resources and expertise. We are in a new world and need to think innovatively and collaboratively.

Here are the top requests:

  • Thomas Link if you think you might be able to help manufacture critical products
  • Federal Government Request for volunteers who can donate , provide and/or produce large scale quantities of critical supplies
  • Survey for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership
  • Local contacts (Curtis Compton of San Bernardino County) are also interested in if you can help by retooling, repurposing, or supporting manufacturers of safety equipment.
  • CMTA survey – they will have surveys every so often on their coronavirus webpage.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Collaboration is no longer a fluffy topic. In fact, it can be the difference between life and death. And we all have the opportunity to have a meaningful impact. We just need to figure out how.

If you are in manufacturing, supply chain or technology, think about what you have to offer. Perhaps you can retool or repurpose. It is heart warming to see that several companies are already doing just that. Or perhaps you have unique skills that are portable to critical industries.  Perhaps you could help critical industries with your expertise. Perhaps you can help connect vital resources to critical industries. Put on your thinking cap and email us or use one of the links above to share your ideas.

And please remember, keep focused. Try not to panic. Look for solutions and don’t be deterred by roadblocks. We are constantly updating our coronavirus resources webpage and so please feel free to share the information and please keep us in the loop of any resources we should add. Feel free to contact us if we can help you during these unprecedented times.



Coronavirus Spurs Supply Chain into Prominence

March 13th, 2020

The House of Representatives has launched a new Congressional Supply Chain Caucus. The coronavirus is spurring supply chain into the limelight. Because China is impacted, the effects to the supply chain will be felt throughout the world in 2-3 months (and sooner for countries closer to the source). We are already starting to see these effects. In addition, it is creating a panic resulting in virus-related supplies already being scarce. If nothing else, it is definitely highlighting the impact of the supply chain.

On a related note, listen to my video about the coronavirus where I talk about, establishing backup plans and future-proofing your supply chain. I’d love to hear about your situations, your ideas and plans so we can exchange ideas. Please email me.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
The supply chain was already starting to gain prominence in the C suite. Since the supply chain is responsible for the vast majority of cost, it has always been relevant.  Now, it has gained in relevance as its impact on the customer experience has come to light. And, with disruptions like the coronavirus spread, the critical nature of the supply chain has been highlighted. We cannot leave our end-to-end supply chain to chance or we will be left in the dust at the first sign of disruption.

Instead, we should not only proactively look at backups but we should also diversify across countries/geographies, size companies, industries and more. We should build solid relationships to proactively and successfully navigate disruptions. In fact, we will be publishing the 10 ways to Keep Your Supply Chain Moving shortly. Stay tuned…

In the interim, keep focused. Don’t panic. Look for solutions.  Don’t be deterred by roadblocks. In essence, create a resilient supply chain. There are several ideas in our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing.

Contact us if you’d like an assessment of how well you have future-proofed your manufacturing operations and extended supply chain.



Coronavirus and Impacts in the Supply Chain

March 7th, 2020

I was talking with a Los Angeles Times reporter about the coronavirus a few days ago, and it spurred several thoughts about down-the-line impacts beyond the obvious. According to the Epoch Times, the coronavirus impacts will hit within the next few months. This makes perfect sense since lead times are typically between 2-3 months for our clients.  So, expect current shutdowns to have impact in a few months.  While you should obviously spring to action if impacted, you should be thinking about future-proofing your supply chain regardless!

 

 



Beware of New Data Law in China & Its Impacts

February 27th, 2020

According to the Epoch Times and International Business Attorney, John Tulac, China’s new cybersecurity law poses a big risk for anyone doing business in China. In essence, if you send data to or from China, your data can be audited at any time. It certainly is concerning from many standpoints such as intellectual property, trade secrets, and more. Listen to my short video on this new law and impacts to consider.

John and I talk about this law as well as many other topics related to doing business in China, alternatives to China and the new USMCA trade deal. Listen to our new interview in our Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain series. Undoubtedly, you’ll pick up a few worries along with ideas/ potential solutions. Let us know what you plan to do.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Many of our clients do NOT import from China.  So you might be thinking, why does this apply to me? If companies start leaving China in a mass exodus, you will certainly be in competition for new manufacturing options such as Vietnam, skilled labor in the U.S. and Mexico, technical skills to automate, use 3D technology, etc. And this is before thinking about indirect impacts. If the supply chain moves away from China, where will it move? There could be dramatic impacts on ocean lanes, political unrest throughout the world, raw material supply and supply and demand. We have never met a client unconcerned about these topics. After all, profitable growth is the name of the game!

At a minimum, no matter whether your supply chain relates to China, we recommend you re-think your manufacturing operations and extended supply chain. Are you dependent on any core suppliers? Are you spread too thin among suppliers? How are you selecting suppliers? And that is just the first topic in a line of many when re-evaluating your end-to-end supply chain. How about the broader topics of whether your manufacturing and supply chain is agile? Fast?

Start by re-evaluating your manufacturing and supply chain road map and think through related impacts. These topics certainly relate to our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Amazon Effect, the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing and contact us if you’d like an assessment path-forward plan to accelerate your bottom line and customer performance.

 



U.S., China Sign Historic Phase One Trade Deal

February 3rd, 2020

According to the National Association of Manufacturers press release, the U.S and China trade deal is an unprecedented phase one win for manufacturers.  Previously the NAM CEO lamented that “China has proven one of the most troubling markets in the world for manufacturers, due to its lack of commitment to free markets, fair competition and reform.” Thus, this statement was high praise for the deal, “It is a remarkable turning point for manufacturers, with the unprecedented and enforceable commitments on critical intellectual property protections to which China has agreed.

There are a myraid of issues in trade with China for manufacturing, and there is debate whether “phase one” went far enough or too far (as both extremes exist); however, according to my recent discussions with international business attorney and China expert John Tulac on future-proofing your manufacturing supply chain, there is quite a bit of risk in China to navigate.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Certainly this trade deal relates back to tariffs. Of course, the U.S. agreed to cut tariffs of $120 billion in Chinese goods by half. They also held off on tariffs in December with expectation of the trade deal. Not surprisingly, economists expect this to positively impact growth.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, China agreed to ramp up purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over the next 2 years. Agricultural products will go up by $32 billion over that period, and China agreed to steps that will provide market access for dairy products, poultry, beef and more.

Most importantly to many manufacturers, there is strong language preventing thefts of trade secrets. That is certainly a huge frustration to manufacturers! We definitely aren’t too comfortable relying upon this but it can be seen as progress and eases some concerns. There is also agreement to create a dispute resolution office as well as to not manipulate currency. The bottom line is there is a host of positive outcomes and progress which provides a base to build upon.

By no means should we jump on expanding manufacturing in China as there are plenty of issues of concern. With that said, this trade deal might provide time for you to evaluate what will make the most sense for your business objectives while reducing negative impacts of tariffs. As costs have gone up in China and working capital increases in importance, manufacturers are starting to look at moving operations closer to customers to support quick turnarounds and a superior customer experience. Technology might provide a strategic advantage with 3D printing, AI, IoT, robotics and more. Commodity products with minimal freight costs are moving to other low cost countries. For example, Vietnam loves manufacturing and is rapidly expanding. There are plenty of options to ponder.

At a minimum, continually re-evaluate your supply chain road map and think through related impacts. These topics certainly relate to our new LMA-i, LMA-Intelligence series including the Amazon Effect, the Resilient Supply Chain and Future-Proofing and contact us if you’d like an assessment path-forward plan to accelerate your bottom line and customer performance.