Supply Chain Collaboration: Regain Control over your Electronics

April 24, 2024




Discover how collaboration in the electronics supply chain can ensure that the right electronics parts are in the right place, at the right time.

Ah, the electronics supply chain – a complex beast that often seems as intricate and tangled as the wiring inside your favourite gadget. But what if we told you that the secret to untangling this web and achieving transparency is, quite simply, collaboration?

It sounds like a no-brainer, but getting everyone on the same page is no small feat. In this article, we'll dive deep into the electronics supply chain, explore the challenges of collaboration, and uncover how technology can be the linchpin in fostering a seamless, efficient, and transparent process.

Non-transparency: the collaboration deterrent

The electronics industry, like many other industries of our globalised era, follows a horizontal business model, where entities around the world are involved in different steps of the production process, and specialisation is the name of the game. Companies focus on what they do best, be it design, manufacturing, or logistics, creating a network of interdependencies.

While the advantages of such a model lie in the reduced time-to-market and manufacturing costs made possible by outsourcing, the inevitable rise of security and trust issues along the chain can negatively impact the final product.

At its core, the problem with non-transparency is simple: it breeds uncertainty. And in the supply chain, uncertainty is the root of all headaches. It leads to buffer stock, missed deadlines, and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers. Combine this with demand volatility, lead time variability, and the ever-dreaded component shortage, and it becomes even harder for stakeholders to plan effectively and respond to disruptions.

Limiting legacy approaches

Despite the issue of supply chain non-transparency being well known, the is currently no real solution to it. To this day, EMS providers simply lack of visibility and control on the electronics parts that they buy from their suppliers, and, the longer the chain, the lesser the knowledge also on the suppliers themselves. So, how do they go about their business?

Manual collaboration is, in most cases, the approach of choice, a legacy carried on from the pre-globalised world. It’s the art of building (and maintaining) strong personal relationships with suppliers, a highly time-consuming process that immediately shows its weakness the moment the supply chain starts to expand beyond the boundaries of what’s manually (and humanly) controllable.

This approach is inefficient because it doesn’t support your EMS business growth, and when direct communication with suppliers becomes difficult to manage, the risk of taking wrong decisions is always around the corner.

Another approach can be the adoption of a horizontal supplier portal, usually a custom one, that standardises communication with all suppliers. While this already goes in the direction of a less manual, hence more efficient, way of working together, it’s still a form of one-way communication, and the input you receive from the supplier doesn’t provide live data about the supply chain, hindering self-service possibilities.

Money and opportunity loss

The lack of transparency along your electronics supply chain, coupled with the use of the wrong tools and systems to manage it, leads to missed business opportunities and inflated costs – both of which could be prevented.

For example, not knowing where your needed electronic parts are, due to an incorrect allocation of inventories on different sites, or not knowing when they run out of stock early on, is a costly risk to take. The possible outcomes are two: either you re-order the parts from a broker (which is expensive), or you are forced to stop production (even more expensive!).

Relying on new forms of collaboration made possible by technology is, you guessed it, the only way to have clarity on the status of your electronic parts, and save your business.

Technology: the collaboration enabler

It’s time to leave behind the traditional “collaboration” between EMS providers, OEMs, and suppliers, which looks rather siloed and not at all transparent.

The benefits of collaboration in the electronics supply chain are manifold: reduced lead times, improved forecasting accuracy, and significant cost savings are just the tip of the iceberg. When stakeholders share information and work together towards common goals, the entire supply chain becomes more resilient and responsive.

In today's digital age, technology is the glue that binds these collaborative efforts. Through the use of secure digital threads, companies can work together on a shared platform, making data-driven strategic decisions. Tools like IoT, AI, and blockchain offer unprecedented visibility and traceability, allowing for real-time monitoring and analytics. This digital backbone enables stakeholders to anticipate disruptions, optimise operations, and, crucially, build trust through transparency.

A secure digital thread for your data-driven decisions

If you’re ready to gain back control over your electronics supply chain through smart collaboration, then you should consider Luminovo, the industry's first fully integrated supply chain collaboration tool designed specifically for electronics companies. We help you set up a direct ERP integration, which is the precondition for synching data and enable collaboration.

This way, you can start monitoring inventory levels across multiple locations in real-time, understanding demand fluctuations and order statuses, and receiving status updates on orders from manufacturers and part suppliers to be able to address potential delays or shortages well before it’s too late.

Whether it's sharing design specifications with manufacturers or negotiating prices with suppliers, a secure digital thread ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Take the first step forward

Achieving electronics supply chain transparency isn't just beneficial; it's essential for staying competitive in an ever-evolving industry. The challenges are real, but so are the opportunities. By embracing collaboration and leveraging technology, companies in the electronics industry can turn these challenges into stepping stones towards a more efficient, resilient, and transparent supply chain.

So, as we look to the future, let's not shy away from reaching out, sharing information, and working together. In the complex matter of the electronics supply chain, collaboration isn't just the best move; it's the only way forward.

And we at Luminovo are here to make your business succeed!

Interested? Let's talk.

Ask us anything during a live software demo.
Or check out a 5-min video of the most relevant features before.

Let's talk.

Ask us anything during a live software demo.
Or check out a 5-min video of the most relevant features before.

Interested? Let's talk.

Ask us anything during a live software demo.
Or check out a 5-min video of the most relevant features before.

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