A recent article from Michigan State University asks some timely questions:

  • “How can automotive manufacturers optimize their supply chains?”
  • “What are some strategies that companies can put in place to reduce product and part shortages?”
  • “How can companies keep up with technological advancements in the supply chain?”

We thought these were excellent questions, and so we thought we’d take a closer look.

According to supply chain management expert Amy Broglin-Peterson, the answer to supply chain issues for automotive manufacturers, as well as other manufacturers, lies in reshoring, a topic we have discussed at length here and here. But the issues of strategy and technology in supply chain management, when combined with reshoring, present an interesting puzzle.

In regard to strategy, she says: “One of the most important strategies is forming partnerships with critical material suppliers and transportation companies. […] When firms form longer-term partnerships with other companies in their supply chain, they have an advantage to secure capacity and a deeper knowledge of how key partner processes work.”

So, strategy is not merely about internal processes, but it also involves external relationships. Here at Wes-Tech, we know that having a reliable integrator as a partner is a critical part of executing supply chain strategies. A good automation partner is one who will assess your situation and goals and guide you to the best automation solution for your production needs—one that will ensure efficient just-in-time/made-to-order manufacturing so that other pieces of the supply chain puzzle can fall into place.

As for technology, Broglin-Peterson says: “Unfortunately, right now, many processes in the supply chain are highly manual and fragmented so there’s not a lot of communication and data sharing. Another problem is that while new and promising technologies exist, many companies haven’t put in the time, effort and resources to build their basic infrastructure to support these additional layers of technology.”

While technology fragmentation may be true on a large scale, industrial automation is technology that can be implemented right now across manufacturers. Many manual and technology issues can be resolved with an automation solution that integrates with a company’s ERP and other business platforms.

Automation takes the place of manual jobs that may be dangerous or slow-going and makes them safe and efficient. Robotic integration can bring together diverse pieces of tech and form the backbone of supply chain management with just-in-time/made-to-order manufacturing that—thanks to reshoring—is close to home.

If you are considering reshoring, contact us today for a consultation.

Team Wes-Tech
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