The global pandemic disrupted the supply chain. The risk is mostly seen in industries that rely on manufacturing and suppliers from Asia, such as plastic components, pharmaceutical supplies, electronics and semiconductor packaging. Industries in many countries were forced to look for alternative sources of supply to prevent interfering with operations. Here are ways to prepare for security in short- and long-term supply crisis.
LOOK FOR LOCAL SUPPLIERS
Relying entirely on global sources can cause delays, especially during catastrophic events. The Coronavirus Pandemic proved how fragile the global supply is in times of crisis. As a result, most manufacturing companies now focus on European and US suppliers. The US suppliers have customer advantages that quickly solve crisis-related problems better than other suppliers. The focus on European and US suppliers is due to:
- Flexibility – during a crisis, the demand needs met quickly. It is difficult for international suppliers to meet the delivery because of distance.
- Less legal requirements – there are fewer approval difficulties with US suppliers since the customer and supplier comply with the same regulations.
- Consistency in quality – the shore hardness of plastic can deviate from the agreed values by close to ten points when it comes to international suppliers. The US leaves room for fluctuation; the smaller deviation is problematic during production.
SEEK PARTNERSHIPS WITH SUPPLIERS
Supply chain services in plastic industries require consistency and flexibility. Partnership with suppliers can be achieved by long-term cooperation and trust. With a personal relationship, the supply chain becomes faster, and problems find easier solutions.
In times of unexpected crisis, there are fewer conflicts since both parties know what to expect. Long-term collaborations offer financial benefits in terms of reduced research costs, supplier qualification and contract negotiation.
FALL BACK ON ALTERNATIVE BLENDS
During catastrophic events, raw materials can be scarce. Therefore, a company should always be flexible by considering alternative blends with similar characteristics for its plastic components.
Alternative blends sometimes cost higher since they require testing, but it remains a temporary solution instead of stopping production. Alternative materials are very important for manufacturing existing products and new developments. A change can improve older products in the design of the components.
IMPROVE MOLD SHOP PLANNING
For injection molding, precision is key; this requires testing and approval of each order. When there are several errors, it can cause a delay in the supply chain. A company should include the plastic manufacturer during the early stages of development to allow them to give their expertise. It will help eliminate errors at the early stages.
Tools manufactured by external partners might cause delays due to logistics. Correction of faulty designs is an additional problem, since they must be transported back to the external supplier thousands of kilometers away.
COMPREHENSIVE SUPPLIER SELECTION
Be strategic and detailed when selecting a supplier. Your focus should be on finding a crisis-proof supply chain instead of the price-driven approach. Evaluate all the suppliers in terms of reliability and quality products. Put into consideration the economic, ecological and social factors.
CREATE A DETAILED SUPPLIER DATABASE
You need information about sub-suppliers and suppliers you want to do business with. Knowing where the suppliers get their resources and how the supply process is structured is necessary. With this information, you will know the risks and make informed decisions on your supply chain.
WORK WITH OTHER COMPANIES
If there is a shortage of raw materials and no alternative blends, looking for cooperation with other companies is a good idea. Companies can come together through digital platforms to offer resources or help search for alternatives.
Optimizing your plastics supply chain is possible by taking the necessary measures and seeking alternative plans. At Proto Plastics, we have what it takes to strengthen your supply chain. Our injection mold parts guarantee business continuity in times of crisis and the future. Please contact us for more information.