Electronic manufacturing services : how to secure your supply chain in times of crisis ?

By Laurent TUFFIER
A graduate of the IAE Caen School of Management in Operations Management, Laurent Tuffier is the Supply-Chain Director of Bosch Mondeville. He has been leading a team of purchasing and supply chain specialists in the field of electronic sub-contracting for over 20 years.

Shutdown factories, stockouts, frozen transport… the Covid-19 health crisis has severely shaken the global supply chain. Managing the scheduling chain consists of managing three types of flows: physical, financial and information. But how can we continue to deliver our customers when all these components are disrupted?

In the field of electronic subcontracting, it is essential to demonstrate responsiveness, flexibility and agility because of constantly arriving information. If for some customers lockdown has caused a drop in sales and production, this is not the case for all.

Many have seen their market grow and have therefore increased their demand in order to meet it. Between ensuring the supply of components, the delivery of products, the management of information flows and the balance between out of stock and over-storage, our logistics teams had to overcome many challenges.

The rapid deployment of a crisis organization has enabled us to secure our supply chain in record time, and deliver our customers on time. At the heart of our strategy is SCRM (Supply Chain Risk Management). It allows us to guarantee a high level of safety and operational excellence in all circumstances.

SCRM and early warning

Anticipating risks is essential to secure a supply chain. Every minute counts, and therefore security relies first on an efficient and rapid information flow. Our global risk management system incorporates the early warning. It’s based on a principle of continuous liaison between Bosch and its main suppliers. This system enabled us to identify the looming crisis as soon as possible and to set up a centralized CoVid-19 crisis unit in December.

Led by logistics and made up of purchasing and sales representatives, its first mission was to coordinate activities: on one hand by centralizing links with suppliers and customers, then by distributing loads and available components between all Bosch plants, taking into account available production capacities of each. In order to be as close as possible to the field, each production plant had a designated contact person. She was acting as an interface between the cell and its plant and ensuring the proper coordination of operations. To gain efficiency, the unit relied on all the tools made available by the Group and particularly on artificial intelligence, a real asset in the race against time.

Rely on AI and Big Data

Tools equipped with AI and Big Data have the capacity to analyze and take into account a number of data far greater than our cognitive capacities. This way, they make possible the increase prediction reliability thanks to the regular update of the Industrial and Commercial Plan (PIC). By removing workload from team members, this tool allows them to focus on the decisions at hand.

Thanks to these Business Intelligence tools, our teams have rapid decision support. This is based on a global information system and updated in real time according to customer needs and availability of resources. While controlling information is a key factor in securing the supply chain, transport management is just as essential.

Transport management

Limiting dependence on sea and air transport has been a priority for Bosch logistics teams for several years. This strategic decision turned out to be, more than ever, a good initiative. Since the pandemic crisis, ports and container ships have been saturated. As for airfreight, the stoppage of passenger air links resulted in a capacity reduction of approximately 60%. To ensure the delivery of components, an integrated team dedicated to transport management ensured the development of alternative means, such as train, and supported the booking of airfreight capacity. While it is necessary to provide alternatives for transport, it is just as necessary to diversify its sources of supply.

Multi-sourcing: a security

While mono sourcing has certain advantages, it is a fragile system. It does not make it possible to secure supplies in times of crisis. An essential aspect of security is the multisourcing approach established by Bosch. Especially on electronic components, which may be lacking since the majority of component suppliers are located in Asia.

To mitigate this risk, Bosch qualifies all components and their alternatives in its laboratories, then certifies these component equivalencies with its customers. This advance qualification process makes it easy to switch from one source to another, while guaranteeing product quality.

By choosing Bosch as your EMS partner, you are choosing security of supply.

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