Optimising inventory and lead-times

To help original equipment manufacturers get their products to market reliably, NOTE suggests the keys to success include collaboration, long-term partnerships and flexibility

Collaboration: When thinking flexibility, we often only think of finished goods. However, there are many ways a partner can offer flexibility, from engineering support to collaboration on inbound logistics. Planning and optimised supply chain scheduling often dictates how flexible companies can be with customers, so getting it right is paramount.

A good manufacturing partner’s supply chain experience will help minimize impacts on customers’ ability to ship products. However, a great partner will offer multiple fulfilment options, tailoring service models to customers’ unique needs.

Long-term partnerships: To understand customers’ projects and priorities, it’s important to consider every element of their technical and commercial needs. A customer-focused approach, close collaboration and holistic view are key to ensuring customers’ inventory and lead-times are optimised.

Flexibility: With demand difficult to predict, a ‘just-in-case’ mentality can take hold, where excess parts are ordered and surplus products manufactured. Kanban eliminates this, with products manufactured using a pull, not push model.

This can be combined with build-to-order and configure-to-order, where manufacturers Kanban at sub-assembly and then manufacture finished products to order. This reduces lead times and inventory costs.