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Component Consolidation: Thinking Ahead About Supply Chain Management

Customers who have chosen to consolidate their components or reduce the number of components with us have found that it can bring significant benefits. This can include access to superior processes and products, improved, cost-effective components, and a hassle-free service that suits their production needs. Customers have also found that our global supply chain management model enables them to quickly scale up their buying strategy, reducing the number of components, reducing in-placement costs, and consolidating suppliers for every component. 

Industrial Supply Chain Management: Where To Start

Manufacturing Bill of Materials (MBOM)

When you start considering whether to and how to consolidate your industrial component buying, a solid understanding of the manufacturing bill of materials (MBOM) is required. Also vital is the application aptitude to reengineer and establish what can be consolidated. An MBOM, in addition to the information on individual parts, also includes information on the parts that require processing prior to assembly and explains how various components relate to one another in a product. The information in the MBOM is shared with all the integrated business systems involved in ordering and building the product, including enterprise resource planning. This is where opportunities are found with analysis across MBOMs.

Fastener Supplier Consolidation

It is often thought to be impossible to get a competitive cost without using different manufacturers for various parts. Not doing so risks running out of inventory or delaying lead times due to a problem in the manufacturing process. However, bringing your component buying under a single manufacturer means they can collaborate with you to simplify your ordering, delivery, and storage of components. 

Such improvements in process efficiency could help to significantly reduce wasted costs. Consider a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) program, as an example.  Replenishment of your fastener inventories are therein greatly simplified.   Plus, if a manufacturer has a better overall picture of your needs, they will be able to recommend, and aid in, ordering volumes and component selection. This will help reduce overall costs.

Unification of Component Requirements  

Unifying your components requirement under one supplier means you can be sure that they are of a consistent quality across the entire range. By knowing that your manufacturer is using a standard and repeatable process to create your parts, has a great deal of experience across different sectors and meets industry standards, you can rest assured they will be of high quality. This means less disruption to your lead times and fewer headaches trying to deal with low quality suppliers. 

Building a Relationship With Your Fastener Supplier

As well as ensuring quality within standard products, building a relationship with a unified supplier can also give you access to their application engineering sources, prototyping and sampling processes, so you can get the exact part you need, whether it’s a standard or custom component. 

It also means that buyers, rather than having to focus on individual orders and relationships with different suppliers, can invest in the long-term picture of high quality manufactured finished good.  Looking again at the example of a Vendor Managed Inventory program, a solid relationship existing with your supplier can ensure confidence in their ability to effectively replenish bins throughout what may be a multi-year arrangement.  

What to Consider With Component Consolidation?

Although there are plenty of advantages to consolidating your component buying with a fastener supply company in your industrial supply chain management system, it’s important that you select a trusted, high-quality industrial fastener supplier who you know will be able to meet your company’s needs.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • Purpose and performance requirement of component?
  • Can that component be used in multiple applications?
  • Are you prepared to share your production schedules and processes with the supplier?

Consolidating your component buying can bring a range of cost and time efficiencies. However, it’s important that you consider these questions to help you to decide whether consolidating your buying is right for your business and if so, which fastener supply company would be the best option.

Improved Value for Money

When looking at the value for money of consolidating your components, it can often be a balancing act between time and cost efficiencies. Consolidating means better security in terms of:

  • Delivery times
  • Time saved within the product development process

It also means that buyers, rather than having to focus on individual orders and relationships with different fastener suppliers, can invest in the long-term picture of component buying. Rather than in the short-term purchases you’re making with several manufacturers.

How Can You Identify Parts for Consolidation?

Mechanical assemblies are common in both consumer products and industrial products. Even relatively inexpensive products can have dozens of individual components, and in complex machinery there can easily be hundreds or thousands of components or fasteners.

Part consolidation reduces, or entirely eliminates numerous risks. For example, you can circumvent the risk that your supplier can no longer supply the part in question. This supplier risk is multiplied by the number of parts in the assembly. If you’re able to print multiple parts as a single unit using additive manufacturing (AM), the chances of encountering this issue greatly decrease.  Additive manufacturing is a layering parts build process largely leveraging 3-D printing. 

There are other risks that are reduced as well. 

Other Risks to Consider in Component Consolidation

When thinking about part consolidation with AM, the first step is to focus on the function of the assembly that you plan to replace. Then you need to question the assumptions that led to your original design made using traditional manufacturing.

It can be helpful to use a structured approach in analyzing the parts to be consolidated. An effective and popular methodology for analyzing manufacturing and assembly is known as Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA®). DFMA is used as the basis for concurrent engineering studies to provide guidance to the design team in simplifying the product structure, to reduce manufacturing and assembly costs, and to quantify improvements. The practice of applying DFMA is to identify, quantify and eliminate waste or inefficiency in a product design. DFMA is therefore a component of Lean Manufacturing and is also used as a benchmarking tool to study competitors’ products. 

In Conclusion

So, customers need ask themselves; are multiple parts truly needed for the part to function properly? Are there other solutions, such as lattice structures (or other complex geometries), that could be incorporated into a design that could serve the same function while reducing the number of parts and materials required overall?

Fastbolt is here to not only provide you with component and quality-focused solutions, but also to provide counsel on the best and most efficient way to combine your component planning even before you decide on the products you need. Need assistance in ensuring your supply chain management continues to run efficiently and cost-effectively? Contact our knowledgable sales team about intelligent sourcing today!

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