@ Supply Chain Management


Surviving the China Rip Tide – Recommendations??

In the last post – Surviving the China Rip Tide – How to profit from the Supply Chain Bottleneck, I reviewed a report (BCG Report : Surviving the China Rip Tide – How to profit from the Supply Chain Bottleneck) by BCG about certain problems that are cropping up in the China centric supply chain.

In this post, I want to get into the recommendations aspect of that report – What to do about this? The authors of the report advise on how to change this problem into an opportunity. So what kind of opportunities are available? And more importantly, for whom?

First, let me succinctly summarize the current situation:

  1. Long lead-time supply chains originating from china based sourcing.
  2. Port congestion at the point of import i.e. US ports

As the authors contend, this is a problem because the lead-times for sourcing from China through congested port infrastructure either on the West coast or East coast of the US are going up. The authors note that,

A leading discount retailer is building distribution centers near the ports of Savannah, GA and Houston, TX in anticipation of the need to redirect its containers from congested west-coast ports.

I agree because in my past role I have executed a number of studies for supply chain network modeling that identified secondary ports and locating distribution centers in relation to these secondary ports that made sense from a distribution point of view. Their recommendations for companies that have yet to go the global sourcing route are as follows:

Reduce minimum production order quantities and reduce cycle times as quickly and as much as possible

In other words, stop batching already and compete on the basis of speed. Thus, produce to demand or transition to a pull model.

Refrain from sourcing or manufacturing in China until management fully understands the dynamics of supply chains.

Or don’t listen to accountants. :grin: Get a handle on total supply chain costs rather than unit costs.

Create an integrated or semi-integrated information flow within the company’s existing supply chain

Cutting out layers of intermediaries and associated inventories and trying to get as close to the customer as possible is one way to factor not only speed into the producer-customer relationship but also responsiveness. And an information system is an invaluable medium. The question as always is how a firm uses its IT resources over acquiring it.

Read the rest of this entry »

About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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June 2007