As Benjamin Franklin was quoted, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. While it is true through all walks of life, if you are a manufacturing company, it also rings true. As a manufacturing supplier to OEMs, the ability to make, not just what is needed now, but to know what you will require in days, weeks, and months ahead is power. It does not stop there though. When analyzing your supplier capabilities, that shouldn’t be all you are looking for.
Traditional Material Requirements Planning packages are used by many manufacturing companies to plug in demand and blow through requirements; this adequately plans the production floor. However, manufacturing suppliers are not just manufacturing floors. Much like the OEM’s environment, they have Administrative, Human Resources, Sales/Customer Service, Engineering and after sales activities that need to be managed AND can contribute to better information.
In order to provide the sound and full support an OEM requires, look for a supplier with an Enterprise Resources Planning System that helps them be as efficient as they can be. Rolling front office admin and accounting capabilities into the same package as the material planning is a power means of accessing information with as little effort as possible. In the end, it all comes down to providing an OEM with as much service as you can for a cost that keeps the OEM competitive. This is especially true if the OEM is in one of the regulated industries. The ability to efficiently tie out manufacturing tracking information to shipping, invoicing, and field activity is invaluable when the need arises.
So include ERP system assessment into your supplier evaluation. Don’t make failing to plan an issue in your next review cycle.
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