Have you taken a look at your supply lines and inventory management lately?
Good inventory management is probably more crucial in today's manufacturing world than ever before, and for plenty of reasons. There are a lot of challenges facing modern manufacturing, and a lot of them have to do with good inventory management and optimization.
With the right inventory procedures and the right manufacturing partners, you can reduce the costs on your electronics while helping guarantee they're of top quality.
Overcoming Challenges In Modern Inventory Management
1 - Counterfeits
Counterfeit parts and components in supply chains is one of the single biggest problems in modern manufacturing at the moment. Global statistics are quite difficult to come by, but just as one example: In 2013, the semiconductor industry alone estimated more than $7 billion in losses due to counterfeits... per year.
When supply chains wind around the world, this can become a problem for virtually any company in manufacturing. It's simply too easy for unscrupulous dealers halfway around the world to make a deal, do a substitution, and pocket the difference.
The only real solution here is per-component tracking, and more manufacturers -especially in the US- are implementing it. Using either RFID chips or barcodes, components can be tracked from their original plant, to the end product, with multiple computerized checks along the way.
Per-component tracking gives you absolutely reliable inventory management data, along with greater security in your end product.
2 - Fuel \ Transportation Costs
Have you looked into where all your components are coming from? You may be transporting them all around the globe when it would be cheaper to get them locally. Optimizing your inventory management around distance\fuel use can often result in significant cost savings!
This is especially true right now, with shipping prices going upwards around the world. If you can get components locally, it's very likely going to result in long-term savings. Plus, shorter supply lines means less can go wrong on the journey.
3 - Properly Estimating Post-Sale Costs
Every piece of electronics is going to have certain failure rates, both for the device as a whole and for each component. When you've got solid data on the original components and their failure rates, you can adjust your inventory to include replacements before they're needed.
Pre-buying replacements and keeping them stocked reduces your service costs because those components will never be cheaper than during the initial production runs. If your inventory management system can make these estimates, you'll be able to make smarter buys.
4 - Conflict Materials
The governments of the industrial nations -including the US- are beginning to crack down on unscrupulous mining operations and, especially, those in areas of conflict. Businesses in electronics manufacturing are now required to report the sources of several common materials, such as Tin, Tungsten, and Gold.
Currently, businesses are only being required to report the sources, but it's not hard to imagine where this is going. Tighter sanctions or potentially even company-level fines are likely in the future.
You should be looking to stock your inventory from legitimate sources that aren't fueling wars, and implementing inventory management systems that can track those sources.
Need Help Navigating Modern Electronics Manufacturing?
The electronics assembly industry has been changing quickly in the last few years, and that rate of change isn't likely to slow down any time soon. For help optimizing your inventory management or finding the right domestic manufacturing partners, just contact Zentech.