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The COVID-19 coronavirus has been wreaking havoc on the manufacturing world, with widespread impacts on supply chains and operations. As a result, the pandemic is forcing manufacturers and retailers to rethink and rework their manufacturing and production processes. That’s a challenging initiative even under the best of circumstances. Now, it can seem overwhelming and prohibitively difficult.
Hoffmann + Krippner can help. We’re an expert in this area; we are well-positioned to navigate this crisis; and we have multiple layers of contingency plans to help us, our customers, and our partners to weather future unexpected disruptions. As your organization re-works its normal workflows, we advise that you consider the following:
1: Ensure transparency into operating status and capacity with direct-to-customer communication.
Clear, timely communication is essential to navigating crisis situations. The only way to make good decisions is with access to good information, and your suppliers and manufacturing partners must be willing to procure and communicate information related to supply, inventories, capacity, capabilities, and production status.
2: Use existing inventory as a bridge across supply chain gaps.
In an age of just-in-time manufacturing, many manufacturers maintain limited inventories. But not all! At Hoffmann + Krippner, for example, because we house everything under one roof (designing and assembling fully functioning control and input devices), we maintain continuous stock of raw materials and component parts at all times. Thus, our customers and partners gain access to both our existing stock of component parts and our ability to produce market-ready devices – including membrane switches, touch systems, front panels, enclosures, sensors, functional foils, etc.
3: Look for single-source production capabilities.
This point follows directly from the previous one. Combining design, engineering, and fabrication capabilities under one roof gives organizations like Hoffmann + Krippner a lot of flexibility in the face of supply chain uncertainty. It also insulates us from the disruptions that can impact manufacturers who rely on multiple third parties (and their supply chains). This has the added bonus of simplifying the production process.
4: Maximize access to flexible supply chain options.
One of COVID-19’s biggest shocks to the supply chain has been the disruption of Chinese supply, and its impact is being felt everywhere. According to German supply chain consultant Koepfel Consulting, 81% of companies rely on Chinese suppliers. But supply chains also run through other parts of the world. For instance, as a German company, Hoffmann + Krippner also relies on geographically diverse supply chains, offering greater flexibility and more options for sourcing components and building finished products.
5: Leverage alternative manufacturing options like 3D printing.
Prior to the coronavirus, 3D printing may have seemed like a niche manufacturing option, but its value is really shining right now. 3D printing can produce parts at high speed and low material cost. At present, 3D printing is proving especially critical in producing much-needed medical equipment at a speed and scale that traditional manufacturing is largely struggling to meet. Look for partners who possess this capability in-house.
Ultimately, the most important thing for organizations trying to navigate the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus and re-working their manufacturing and production workflows: make sure you are working with partners who are actively planning for contingencies, not just hoping for the best. Organizations are like people in this regard: some build resiliency into their operations, and others don’t. Those who do will be better positioned to help shepherd their customers and partners through this emergency situation.
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Critical components for high-quality medical equipment is a specialty at Hoffmann + Krippner. For more information about Hoffmann + Krippner’s COVID-19 preparations and our production capabilities, read our most recent statement and follow news as it updates here. For more information or for answers to specific questions, contact us here.
Technical wordsmith and guest blogger for Hoffmann + Krippner.