I would be interested to hear your opinion on a situation that I see occurring more and more frequently. It is a common practice that began a few years ago (more or less after the economic crisis) and that unfortunately is continuously deteriorating. I am referring to the
need of most manufacturing companies to clear their warehouses. A necessity that ends up dictating to the suppliers of such companies increasingly tight delivery times, to the point of actually becoming almost unmanageable.
The classic situation in which we find ourselves is this: the manufacturing company in question, for example of mechanical components (similar to our own organisation) requests a quote from a supplier, which provides one stating a definite delivery date. At this point there are two possible scenarios.
In the first case the customer accepts the price and framework terms and conditions but not the delivery time which – on the basis of its needs – must necessarily become shorter.
In the second case, the customer immediately issues the purchase order, accepting and signing price, general terms of sale and delivery times. But, inevitably, a few days after the start of work, the customer contacts the manufacturer asking for faster delivery times due to unforeseen circumstances.
Both situations inevitably lead to discussions that last weeks and which postpone the commencement (or progress) of work where the delivery date remains unchanged.
Have you ever found yourself in these situations? Have you ever experienced this?
The result doesn’t change and the underlying dynamics are always the same: the manufacturing company in question clears its warehouse with the consequent inability to cope independently at times of peak sales (despite the current historical moment the market is showing signs of an increasingly irregular trend). Added to this is the inability of such companies to plan purchase orders invariably leading them to request and purchase goods almost exclusively only when absolutely needed, thus ultimately dictating to suppliers overly narrow timeframes that often cannot be respected.
At MICROingranaggi we experience situations like this almost every day and we have to deal with customers who tell us that their businesses have a visibility of 15 days at most.
What are the possible solutions? In our role as suppliers essentially none because even if we are skilled and organized enough to handle emergencies, we are no longer able to do so as this would then become almost all of our workload. We can choose to invest in machinery and equipment to be used for emergencies but even that has its limits.
Many companies would like to see us suppliers running the warehouses instead of them, without, however, taking on the financial responsibility of ensuring the collection of goods. It goes without saying that such demands become unmanageable in most cases. Take the example of MICROingranaggi: we are very often called upon to produce parts from drawings provided by the customer. What happens if that project is changed once production has already started?
This work dynamic cannot function. I think that someone – at certain points of the production chain – should take responsibility otherwise you end up in an endless loop, resulting in continuing daily conflict between businesses. These conflicts will inevitably impact on everything else, preventing harmonious work practices, creating difficulties in the management of other orders, causing internal friction among colleagues, and so on.