There are services available to manufacturing that have direct impact to productivity and reliability.
We’ll review a few areas of low hanging fruit that you can begin evaluating when looking at your business.
Let’s start with Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI). At its core VMI is a service provided to store frequently used parts in a storeroom inside the company’s facility. So, what is the value of a VMI program to manufacturing? The key value point is you put the ownership of organization and tracking on an outsourced resource. Manufacturers make product at the best of their ability, for the lowest cost and at the highest quality. Managing parts is not their core business and this is where a trained resource could bring immediate impact. Parts are closely monitored and replenished by an outside firm and areas that could be supported are:
- Printed circuit boards
Outside of organizing and managing the inventory a robust VMI program will provide areas of data that can provide meaningful insight to production. Items such as failure analysis and location of failures are invaluable pieces of data when manufacturers are trying to improve items such as OEE.
Another service to consider is repairing failed electronic components. Why repair these items instead of purchasing new?
Truth be told sometimes it makes sense to purchase new but remember the core function of manufacturing (make product not manage parts). Put the ownership on resources that can help make the best decisions for your situation on a case by case basis. Cost savings does exist but the greater value is the time and resources you are able to allocate in the areas that make the biggest impact in your operations and that typically isn’t researching what components should be repaired. Select a partner you can trust and let them hold that responsibility.
As you evaluate partners for distributor services one area of concern is gray market components entering your facility. Gray market components are provided by counterfeit suppliers or unauthorized sellers that do not adhere to U.S. copyright laws or safety standards.
Why care about this issue? SECURITY!!!
Operational Technology (OT) data security could be breached if software contains malware or ransomware. This can happen inadvertently by using components directly from an abandoned factory without refurbishment. While low price points up front sometimes seems enticing beware of the risk that could be entering your facility. Procure component replacement or remanufactured parts from a reliable source with a service warranty included. Partnering with a trusted supplier can reduce your risk in this area.
Organization, tracking, improved data for reliability and enhancing security are a few areas that distributor services can directly impact manufacturing with. Keep your eye focused on the areas that give the greatest return and put the ownership of items outside of that in the experts that support and understand your goals.