Concepts like supplier relationship management (SRM) may have gained widespread acceptance, but that doesn't mean buyers and suppliers are always on the same page when they do business together. That was clearly evident in the results of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) 2013 Manufacturing Outlook Survey. One-third of the 1,250 manufacturing professionals who participated in the survey said they anticipate experiencing a shortage of parts due to a problem with a supplier this year.
Of those respondents who expected such problems, 42 percent said they are working with their partners on process improvements, and about 26 percent are working with their suppliers' competitors to ensure adequate capacity. Other manufacturers said they are stockpiling parts as a preventive measure, and some are expanding facilities to make necessary parts themselves.
The ASQ research found that 80 percent of survey takers had been adversely affected by a supplier's inability to meet their needs in the past. Of those, 25 percent turned to their supplier's competitors to get the needed parts. Slightly more than 30 percent worked with their existing suppliers on process improvements to mitigate capacity constraints. Other manufacturers addressed those problems by using up available inventory, manufacturing the parts in-house, shutting down production, or refocusing efforts on other production areas.
Supply chain risk continues to remain a top concern. More than 60 percent of respondents said their organization has a formal process in place to address supply chain risk. Nearly 28 percent said they have no formal plan.