This week’s selection is “A Practical Introduction to Supply Chain” by David Pheasey.
We’ve all heard the words “supply chain” in recent years, as it has become for many companies one of the most damaged assets from the pandemic. But what is a “supply chain”, and how does it work?
Wikipedia defines a supply chain as:
“In commerce, a supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in supplying a product or service to a consumer. Supply chain activities involve the transformation of natural resources, raw materials, and components into a finished product and deliver to the end customer. In sophisticated supply chain systems, used products may re-enter the supply chain at any point where residual value is recyclable.”
Essentially, it’s the process a business uses to obtain materials to make their products, the products you might purchase. It may sound like a simple process, but it is often extremely complex, mainly due to a business’s requirement to continuously procure supplies to enable continuous production.
Supply chains are highly dependent on transport networks, which have been severely disrupted during the pandemic. In particular, shipping container movement has been extremely constrained due to imbalances in loading and unloading containers at major ports. The cost of shipping a container has multiplied several times, causing untold grief among 3D printer manufacturers who both need parts from suppliers and the ability to deliver their products to customers.
Supply chain issues have been so massive that many manufacturers have turned to 3D printing components locally to effectively eliminate portions of their supply chain. It’s been good for the 3D print industry, but a difficult time for many manufacturers.
This book explains supply chains from the very beginning. It explains the strategic importance of a supply chain for a business, and seven critical factors for a successful supply chain.
Other topics covered include customer demand, supply management, logistics, processes, people & organizations, lean practices, and how to make it all work together to form a functioning supply chain.
While this book is definitely not for all readers, I suspect it could be of great interest to readers who are launching a manufacturing business and will soon require a more formal supply chain. By understanding what a supply chain really is, and how it can be optimized, the business might become more successful.
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