Watching the Supply Chain

by Ian Campbell October 19, 2021

As I write this, Ford just announced it’s pausing production at its Hermosillo plant in Mexico citing supply shortages.  Not good for Ford since the plant makes some of Ford’s most popular products, but as they noted, without critical components it’s hard to keep the plant running.

With the threat of increasing prices and dwindling supplies going into the holiday season, it may not be a good time to be a supply chain manager, but it is a good time to be a supply chain software supplier.  Supply chain, and in particular control tower solutions, are getting a lot of interest right now. In the old days (24 months ago) you could place an order with a supplier and be reasonably assured of on-time delivery.  No longer.  Delayed deliveries, chaotic container pricing, and constant risk in the delivery process means today’s supply chain manager needs to have not only a plan “B” but the mental agility to come up with plans “C” and “D” on the fly.

When we talk to supply chain vendors about their development plans, greater automation and even more integrated AI and machine learning are the topics that almost always come up. It’s no surprise that the goal is to help supply chain managers be even more productive by identifying problems and suggesting alternatives as proactively as possible. There may not be a lot of supply chain managers sleeping well these days, but the vendors are planning great strides in supply chain solutions during the next 24 months that may make them rest a little easier.  Companies using supply chain solutions may want to actively track that market for the latest changes and innovations. Being behind in this critical technology may be a costly mistake.