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How to Reduce Lead Times and Improve Supply Chain Visibility Using the Cloud

The New Normal

One of the unintended consequences of the export of US manufacturing jobs is the rise of global supply chains. In the past, many of the suppliers used to be clustered around their customers' manufacturing centers. Those days were gone forever when manufacturers in pursuit of cheap labor first went to Mexico and then to China. Global supply chains have led to longer lead times which has translated into reduced flexibility in meeting changing customer needs. In the past, you could easily pick up the phone and call the supplier from across the street or town. Today, you have to send an email to a supplier who speaks a different language and is located half way around the globe from you and operates in a different time zone to learn more about your order. The barriers are distance, time zone, and language, and incompatible technology. Your cost savings from cheap labor is negated by the higher supply chain transaction costs. So, what type of supply chain visibility do you have compared to days past? What can you do in this New Normal to keep your commitments to your customers?