Covid-19 & Risk

It seems like it never ends. MLCC and other component shortages from automotive market expansion in 2018, tariffs driving sourcing changes in 2019 and now, in 2020, Coronavirus taking us into completely uncharted waters. Despite some interesting environmental new (for some interesting NO2 pollution photos from the crisis, see https://www.visualcapitalist.com/coronavirus-lockdowns-emissions/), it’s not good at best and possible catastrophic for some. For others like on-line retailers there is a spike in overall demand which (15% to 30% growth) since Covid-19...

Towards “20/20 vision” in 2020

It’s hard to believe, but already the third decade of this century is around the corner.  This certitude had me reflecting this week as I commuted to the optometrist. Most adults have an annual ritual of going to an optometrist for an eye exam. They emerge with a prescription for new lenses or, in some cases, reasons for laser eye surgery. Stated another way, they benchmark their vision against an established standard and take corrective action when anomalous outcomes develop....

Shortage Mitigation Revisited

How Lytica became a unique analytics company: Part 22 I have been thinking about shortages again and how one might improve their supply situation in these difficult times. In July, I posted a blog to scmroundtable.com titled “Shortages: Three Extreme Mitigation Approaches” where I suggested things that are somewhat “outside-the-box” for normal sourcing but not so when viewed in an environment of extreme scarcity of material. Today, I have another thought that may help some of you and have created...

Ken, your engine is revving a lot of RPMs!

How Lytica became a unique analytics company: Part 20 This blog’s title is an email quote from a customer trying the extreme shortages mitigation approaches outlined in my last blog. He was surprised by the number of alternatives we tabled for him. This individual is one of the best supply chain professionals I know. He works for one of our clients in the Bay area and has worked for a number of industry leading telecom and computer companies. I can guarantee...

Shortages: Three Extreme Mitigation Approaches

How Lytica became a unique analytics company: Part 19 The introduction of semi-autonomous vehicle demand coupled with the already growing smart phone requirements for passive components - particularly MLCC capacitors - has created significant shortage problems for EMS and OEM companies in the last year. This has caused a surge in prices for those lucky enough to secure supply and severe shortages for the less fortunate ones; most component users experience a combination of both. There appears to be an...

Risk and Uncertainty

 Is risk a synonym for uncertainty? The thesaurus in Microsoft Word suggests that it is and a Google search confirms it however, when thinking about managing supply chains, there are a different set of actions for risk than those taken to address uncertainty.  The primary supply chain actions to reduce risk involve alternate sourcing, inventory and supplier selection criteria whereas actions to remove uncertainty involve data.  If they really are the same, the risk reduction approach should be the same. Paraphrasing...

“We supply the science – you supply the art”

In October, I attended the i2030 National Manufacturing Summit in Ottawa Canada, co-hosted by industry groups the CME (Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters) and the CMC (Canadian Manufacturing Coalition). The agenda was geared towards manufacturers and, considering our customers worldwide are comprised of OEM, EMS providers and ODMs, it was certainly topical and relevant to Lytica. Many of the discussion threads touched on the 4th industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 for short.  For the purposes of a refresher and setting the context,  the...

Will Electronic Component Distributors Disappear? (Part 1)

Undoubtedly, electronic component distributors have contributed to the tremendous development of the electronic manufacturing industry for a long time. Being the middleman between electronic component manufacturers and buyers of components, distributors provide value to both parties, allowing them to maintain and grow their business. The diagram below demonstrates the role of component distributors in a simplified supply chain. Distributors offer major value to buyers by addressing 3 key procurement needs: They provide purchasing channels for small manufacturing companies who cannot purchase...

Predicting Supplier Failure

The problem of identifying suppliers with a high risk of failure is becoming more serious as talks of interest rate hikes and free trade agreement dissolution become more common. While this blog considers suppliers in an electronics supply chain, the risks and mitigations described apply more broadly. Most companies have strategies and indicators for dealing with short term supply disruptions related to manufacturing issues but the prediction of catastrophic supplier failure is a less safeguarded space. How does one...

8 Supply Chain Design Rules for Engineers

In this article, I summarize some points from a lecture that I gave at Hong Kong University in 2014; it drew on a blog I wrote in 2013.  I repeat some of the ideas from that blog here because I believe they are critically important for world-class companies. I was focused on supply base design, recognizing the key role that designers play in establishing the supply chain. Once a designer has selected a supplier or component, supply chain professionals are...