Risk Reduction through Redundancy makes sense, doesn’t it? For those of us in manufacturing, keeping production flowing is a basic responsibility. Even so, did you know that not all operations have a Redundancy Plan?
We come face to face with this lack of planning in our office when the phone rings for emergency orders due on July 5th. Those calls come in around June 30th. Same thing happens around the end of the year too. A manufacturing plant machine might be down and personnel is short staffed. Due dates remain inflexible despite the circumstances.
It is challenging enough to push through a rapid order. However, in the manufacturing world, time is only part of the picture. A part delivered quickly that does not comply with Total Quality misses the mark. Often these incoming calls are for parts that have not been approved for sourcing outside their home plant, and therefore lack the controls to document inventory quality.
Even if there is a big rush, parts need to be qualified at outside suppliers. Furthermore, some companies have firm supplier approval policies as well that require full vendor audit and qualifying. What can manufacturing managers do? We think of this in terms of friction welding operations by the nature of our work, but it pertains to all manufacturing processes.
Our staff suggests that OEMs and part makers identify critical operations and pre-qualify suppliers for outside part making. An enrollment program to include vendor audits, part qualifications, pricing, and lead-time can be developed and agreed to. When a machine goes down or demand exceeds capacity, operation managers can “throw the switch” to activate the outside sourcing plan. We have come to call this concept “Friction Welding Insurance” at our company.
Here are some questions to consider for discussion:
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