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CNC Machining Supply Chain Management

CNC Machining Supply Chain Management

Over the past two years, we’ve all experienced some effects of supply chain issues. Whether that’s not being able to find toilet paper at the grocery store, or waiting 7+ months for the couch you ordered.

Supply chains are complex, and there are many moving parts. If one of those parts isn’t working properly, it can throw the entire timeline off. This ends up causing delays and leaves the end customer frustrated. When you buy something at the store, or order something online, the product is often transported all over the world. It’s moving on planes, ships, trains, and delivery trucks.

It takes a lot of strategic planning to get products in the hands of the consumer.

In this post, we’ll explain the role that machining and manufacturing plays in the supply chain process. And we’ll share how Spex helps customers optimize their supply chain management.

What is supply chain management?

The simple definition of supply chain management is organizing the flow of goods and services between different locations. We often think of delivering physical products, but services — like CNC machining — are equally important.

This includes everything from sourcing the raw materials, to delivering the product to the customer’s front door. Companies work hard to make that process as quick and efficient as possible.

When you go to your car dealership, the car you buy has gone through the many stages of the supply chain. Steel and aluminum were mined from the earth. Then turned into bar stock and sent to a machine shop. The plastic, glass, and cloth were produced. All of those car parts were sent to various assembly lines. The newly assembled car was likely sent to a national distributor, and then finally delivered to your local dealership.

There are 5 aspects of the supply chain management process:

  1. Planning

  2. Sourcing

  3. Manufacturing

  4. Delivery

  5. Returns

Supply Chain

The first step is planning. This is when companies look at the consumer’s needs and create a plan to fulfill their needs. Every step of the supply chain should be planned, and there should be metrics that indicate if the supply chain is running effectively.

Sourcing is the step where suppliers are chosen to provide the materials needed to create the products and services. Maintaining good relationships with suppliers is essential in effective supply chain management. Sourcing covers ordering, receiving, and managing the inventory of raw materials.

Manufacturing takes the raw materials and turns them into the finished product. This includes managing the raw materials, the manufacturing processes, quality assurance, and preparing goods for shipment.

Delivery is the process of moving the product from the manufacturers to the customers. This involves coordinating customer orders, scheduling and overseeing deliveries, and receiving payments from customers.

Returns are inevitable in every industry. This step of the supply chain management creates the protocol for returning unwanted or defective products.

Each step in the supply chain process is intertwined, and they all impact the cost and lead time of a project. If sourcing raw materials is delayed, the manufacturing and delivery will be delayed as well.

What is effective supply chain management?

Building a more effective supply chain is a key aspect of a sustainable business. Consumers experience the impact of supply chain issues, but they’re often unaware of what’s happening behind the scenes.

While Spex is a manufacturer, we’re involved in more than just the manufacturing step of the supply chain. We have decades of experience helping our customers optimize their supply chain management.

Over the years, we’ve discovered that there are three essential aspects of an effective supply chain.

1. Connections

Building and maintaining industry relationships is a significant part of the supply chain. Having strong connections with suppliers is highly valuable when customer demand shifts. You can and should plan, but there’s always some guessing involved.

Production needs can change overnight, so strong industry connections help manufacturers maintain on-time delivery.

2. Collaborations

Effective supply chain management requires collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers, and transporters. Having easy access to multiple vendors and manufacturers with diverse capabilities is vital.

When a company lacks strong relationships with trading partners, it makes supply chain management increasingly difficult.

3. Comprehensiveness

A comprehensive supply chain strategy helps simplify the supply chain process by consolidating it. Instead of dealing with separate planner, supplier, manufacturer, and delivery network, there’s one party that handles everything. This saves time, improves lead times, cut down unnecessary costs, and increases your profitability.

How Spex streamlines customer supply chains

The manufacturing process is right in the middle of the supply chain timeline. As a manufacturer, that means Spex is involved in every other aspect of the supply chain. To be an effective machine shop, we need to be involved in the other steps of the supply chain.

Before they place an order, Spex works with customers during the planning stage. This helps our customers and us figure out the best way to move forward. We work to estimate customer demand, raw material suppliers, machining operations, and inventory. Having a clear plan before the work starts helps increase profitability and reduces supply chain interruptions.

Once we have a plan, we work with one of our raw material suppliers. Our decades of experience and supplier connections allows us to get lower prices and ensure we have the material to match your customer demand.

Spex has a wide variety of machine tools. Our CNC machining equipment, lathes, Swiss screw machines, and other technology, enable us to support different industries. Even if your project requires secondary processes, our connections help us stay as your one-stop shop. Other machine shops have limited capabilities, making your supply chain management more complicated.

In the manufacturing stage of supply chain management, we have the ability to support you from raw material to finished product. Our manufacturing capabilities include:

These capabilities allow us to be your single-point supply chain partners.

After your parts are manufactured, it’s important to maintain the right amount of inventory to fulfill your customer orders. Whether you need make to order, or make to stock, Spex provides the solutions so you can meet customer demand.

The future of supply chain management machining

As technologies and SCM software continue improving, we can expect that supply chains will continue to get better. Artificial intelligence will improve and help manufacturers manage demand planning, and accurately estimate how much inventory is needed.

Machines and machining software are always getting more accurate and more advanced. Improving technologies allow machine shops to create quality, complex components faster and cheaper. Most CNC machining doesn’t require much human intervention. We expect that this will continue to move in that direction, allowing machinists to work on more advanced jobs instead of simple tasks.

Overall, the supply chain processes will continue making operations more efficient.

If you’re looking for a reliable supply chain management partner, our team is available and happy to help. We’ll work to improve the efficiency of your business. Reach out to learn how you can provide your customers with better services.

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