From supplier management to supply chain cooperation
With assistance, problems at established suppliers can be solved more quickly and reliably
Source: Produktion 19/2017
Since November 13, 2017: Wassermann becomes valantic:
Wassermann AG is now doing business under the name valantic Supply Chain Excellence GmbH
Complex supply chains in the automobile industry and mechanical engineering are creating ever more mutual dependencies between OEMs and suppliers. Supplier management that focuses only on a search for replacement sources in case of delivery problems is no longer adequate. A new trend: manufacturers commission supply chain management experts with process optimization at the supplier in case of insufficient security of supply.
There are many suppliers that you can’t or don’t want to replace on short notice – their quality is just right and perhaps there are also unique technical selling points that prevent a change. Problems occur, for example, due to shorter product cycles: the number of product start-ups increases and there are capacity problems in the start-up phases. The OEM might then like to have his own processes optimized, but if suppliers of individual components cannot keep pace, things get tight.
While supplier management previously focused on selection and monitoring processes and sanctioned escalation systems, increasingly, practical, operative help is required. The reason: with the help of partners, problems at established suppliers can be solved more quickly and reliably than would be possible with a change to another supplier. Required for this is a team of SCM and production experts who are familiar with the OEM’s supply chain and who can find and eliminate process weaknesses on-site at the supplier. Wassermann, a process and IT consulting company specializing in supply chain topics, makes such teams available.
The procedure of the ‘quick SCM intervention troop’: first immediate troubleshooting measures and then help with long-term process improvements. If there are material bottlenecks and they threaten the OEM’s lines, the deployment of the Wassermann team is coordinated with suppliers and the team is sent on its way. Some OEMs are already anchoring such deployments in their supplier contracts. The consultants’ tasks are quick analysis of the situation and damage control. The most important goal is the restoration of security of supply. The supplier then receives additional resources, IT, and process expertise in order to analyze the causes of its bottlenecks together with the experts and be able to develop countermeasures. At the same time, the team establishes close communication with the OEM. Experience has shown: even the communication with the consulting team as mediator and the transparency gained about the situation on-site establishes a constructive, solution-oriented atmosphere between OEM and suppliers. The countermeasures in planning, production, and quality assurance are then agreed upon according to the situation and implemented.
Once the immediate measures have been taken, the second phase begins: material flow analyses, organizational changes in supply chain planning, and improvements in IT support for processes. In subsequent projects, for example, lean principles or more extensive resource planning are realized. Thus the task can be to increase the flexibility of production in order to attune it better to customer needs, to utilize systems better, and to reduce scrap with better quality assurance.
Frequent errors eliminated are discrepancies between theoretical and actual throughput times, the over- or underestimation of the flexibility of employees and machines or incomplete inventory bookings. Ideally, the result is an early warning system with which the OEM receives a clear overview of the entire supply chain. If the OEM and supplier succeed in establishing a solid partnership after the crisis, supplier management becomes supply chain cooperation.
valantic Supply Chain Excellence