2020/08/28 How Manufacturers Can Secure Supply Chains and Be Part of the Pandemic Solution (part 2 of 2)

How Manufacturers Can Secure Supply Chains and Be Part of the Pandemic Solution

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Help Others Through the Crisis

Now that you can supply, it’s possible that your customers or prospects can’t get products from elsewhere or are struggling with their own production teams. Can you help them through the crisis and perhaps turn that into an opportunity and a competitive advantage that lasts long after the crisis has passed? Consider these examples:

Some U.S. companies were in a bind because their plastic parts providers temporarily shut down. They couldn’t go to other injection molders because they didn’t have extra tooling on hand.

So, customers called Forecast 3D, an additive manufacturing company with production-scale 3D printing capabilities, to see if they could supply the parts instead. In normal situations, additive manufacturing might not be the right way for these customers to get their parts. However, it requires no tooling and can often turn around parts in as little as a day. For a customer who just needs enough volume to get through the crisis, this can effectively bridge the gap.

Of course, the situation changes daily, and it’s critical to be able to flex as customers’ needs change. Now, as the healthcare community struggles to get essentials such as masks, Forecast 3D is in a position to quickly manufacture mask components to help solve this issue.

Years ago, when the H5N1 virus was circulating, DuPont made cleaning and disinfection products for industrial and hospital use. The company re-packaged these products, along with instructions on good hygiene, to create office disinfection kits.

Essentially, they repackaged existing products into kits to make it easier for offices to keep their workspaces clean and reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Again, a simple change could be part of the solution.

The question for any business is whether you can and should be part of the solution. Can you help train people and repackage or redirect your products so they’re easier to use in case of a disaster? Can you supply people who otherwise can’t get products because they’re not manufacturing or an essential component is stuck somewhere? Could you reallocate your product to a business in need, like grocery stores or hospitals? Are you in a position to supply extra inventory to customers now in case they can’t get product in the future?

Be Prepared

While no one wants to see this situation again, it’s a wake-up call to be prepared. Sudden, major supply chain disruptions may be uncommon but can be catastrophic to your business, causing you to under-serve and lose customers you may never win back. Being prepared now can mean the difference between under-resourcing and losing customers or winning business for the future.