Operations Payoff

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Are Your Suppliers Ready to Ramp?

Boeing is facing an unprecedented ramp up of production for its 737 Max aircraft. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (August 21, 2015 p. B1 – Boeing Scrambles to Get Key Part), Boeing has the opportunity to go from less than one aircraft per month to over 50 by 2020, the fastest ever increase in jetliner production.

But there’s a problem. It seems the supplier of a key engine part may not be able to respond to that level of growth. While Boeing is confident in its own processes and their ability to ramp up, one part in their supply chain could hold them back. This is the essence of Benjamin Franklin’s proverb, “for want of a nail the shoe was lost.” Many companies fall into the trap of certifying suppliers at current demand levels without exploring their capability to ramp-up rapidly in response to new market demand.

Being ready to ramp-up and ramp-down can prevent excess inventory and lost sales. Is your supply chain ready for a fast ramp-up? Can your suppliers (who have performed well in the past) respond to a significant change in demand?

© – 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

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