In our ever-changing world, businesses face new challenges year after year. The phrase “it’s always something,” has been repeated even more frequently, highlighting the need to overcome obstacles. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions have become an persistent headache for manufacturers, so overcoming these disruptions is essential. It starts with identifying the challenges at hand. Therefore, by doing so, businesses can work towards finding effective solutions. Let’s take a look at some of these common supply chain challenges and how they can be tackled.

Want to Learn More About Breiner’s Partnership with Toyota?Click Here to Download!

Supply Chain Cost Control

A primary concern any business owner or purchasing officer is the cost of raw materials. These costs hit directly to the bottom line. With rising cost freight, compounded by more global customers and increased labor rates, there is a lot of pressure to maintain operating costs and product margins.

What’s a solution? One of the major costs and areas of variability is transporting raw materials from point A to B. Globalization has stretched raw material sources to far-off locales. Minimizing transportation is a winning strategy, and that points to finding and developing local sources.     

Reducing the number of hops it takes to get materials to your shop reduces the complexity of the transport (changing from one mode to another), reduces the handling reduces the miles traveled (and therefore the fuel, labor, and time) and reduces the chances of uncontrollable events affecting the transit (such as severe weather, accidents, etc.).   

Material Scarcity

A major difficulty these days is the lack of availability of raw materials. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) conducted a survey that revealed “record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices, and difficulties in transporting products across industries.

Blue pins and thread on a map, representing the supply chain and the challenges it brings with it.

When the supply chain is running smoothly, there are no problems; but when issues arise, things can come to a complete halt.

Traditional inventory control strategies focus on past performance to determine inventory strategies. While precise algorithms are used to determine requirements, the approach is not agile enough to adapt to unexpected situations. The solution likely lies in a new approach to supply chain management: one that uses up-to-the-minute insights to determine market shifts and establish the demand faster.

Closer relationships with suppliers and more frequent check-ins with suppliers on raw material status are the order of the day. Being open to evaluating alternate or substitute materials in your application is a possible route to navigating lead times that go from predictable and reasonable to outrageously long and “we’ll make it when we make it.” Communication is extremely important these days along with the visibility of status. As we like to say around here: ‘no surprises’ is the goal.

Supply Chain Relationship Management

To reinforce the communication aspect of the material scarcity issue, one of the most undervalued aspects of the supply chain is the relationship between manufacturers and their vendors. It is important for all parties to create, understand, and follow mutually agreed-upon standards. This allows all parties to understand what they’re doing well but also helps identify opportunities for improvement. The importance of the relationship between supplier and buyer is only growing, which is why a strong working relationship should be a major goal. Unsurprisingly, communication and visibility are the foundations of such relationships. Frequent and early communication helps smooth out those rough areas of this challenging environment.  

From the team at Breiner, we know the importance of the relationship between ourselves and our valued customers—their success is our success.

Common types of gasket materials. This helpful infographic takes a look at the most common types of gasket materials. Download your infographic here.