Persistent Sandcastles: Understanding and Mitigating Business Area Challenges

By: SiliconExpert on August 12th, 2019

Business Area Challenges and the Evolution of MitigationA 5 Part Weekly Thought Leadership Article SeriesAuthor:  George Karalias, Industry Executive Consultant

Not too long ago, running a business meant having good relationships with suppliers that were the life blood of your production schedule. If you were a toy manufacturer, you had a supply of wood, plastic, metal and other raw materials that made up the build of the next must-have children’s plaything. If you were a baker, you had flour and sugar suppliers. If you were in the early auto industry, you had a direct line to your supply of steel in Pennsylvania.

Today, those toys need electronics. Bakers’ mixing and baking systems run with electronics. And cars are more computer than metal.

How are you going to keep up with all the demanding developments that are required to build and create? If you’re trying to keep up manually, then you’re going to fall behind quickly. There’s too much coming at you that can be missed. The help in deciphering this data and plucking out what you need is out there. It’s up to you to take advantage of it.

When planning your latest, greatest creation, don’t stick your head in the sand—build a sandcastle instead! But remember that, while your castle may seem idyllic now, there’s a tsunami of problems approaching that could wipe out your plans if you don’t do your homework.

Diligence needs to be implemented on many fronts. From compliance with federal, international and state regulations to mitigation of obsolescence at the design phase, to elimination of the risk of components from the counterfeit trade market and establishing proper taxonomy of components, a plan for what lies ahead is absolutely necessary.

There is too much information hitting you from all directions that can affect your time to market, production efficiency, and margins.

Figuring out what to look for and how to be aware ahead of time is best done at the design stage. This will save a lot of cost and stress in the long run.

As we all know, a bill of materials (BOM) is a thorough accounting of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts, and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product.

Let’s examine a typical scenario: A company designs and manufactures a product that is made up of multiple materials along with several key electronic components. There is a firm delivery-to-market deadline. How can that company make sure that none of the necessary steps to production falls victim to unforeseen issues?

Having access to an information stream that gives you real-time alerts on all levels of your product’s existence is like having an entire department of highly skilled specialty employees tirelessly watching every move of a supply situation and anticipating any shift in priorities.

In many companies, product lifecycle management (PLM) manages the innovation and design process. PLM is a systematic approach to managing the series of changes a product goes through from design and development to ultimate retirement or disposal.

Once a product has been engineered and approved, enterprise resource planning (ERP) ensures that quality products are manufactured in a timely, cost-controlled manner. ERP normally impacts manufacturing resource planning, HR, purchasing, inventory management, order management, and accounting.

PLM is an integral part of the lean production model. PLM software can automate the management of product-related data and integrate the data with other business processes such as ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

How might the supply chain impact design for better or for worse? What key decisions will guarantee the right outcome? How will this save money? Look for cost savings in the supply chain planning phase. A PLM or ERP system is not enough for a clear view of a product’s every detail. A complete digital transformation includes accurate and real-time information directly feeding into your existing platforms. It’s the key to avoiding being left behind. There’s so much that can be missed. Component obsolescence can mean the disappearance of a key piece of a product. Counterfeit risk can be the cancer of a product’s existence because it causes harm in unimaginable ways. Compliance of both mineral use and chemical content can appear where least expected. Do you really know what’s in those sub-assemblies? And, lastly, part classification is not going to be completely accounted for in even the best approved component list (ACL). If the names don’t match, neither will the data.

Access to data is only the beginning. Understanding how to disseminate it is critical.  SiliconExpert will examine all these issues in upcoming articles. Check back next week for part 2 of 5.

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