Inbound Logistics | January 2024

Blind spots can also occur in the disconnect between design and fulllment. The engineers responsible for product design may lack a comprehensive understanding of the component lifecycle, and so may incorporate obsolete or hard-to-source parts in their designs. That can lead to disruptions in production and supply chain continuity. “Engineers must be educated about the lifecycle of components, emphasizing the importance of choosing readily available and long-life parts,” says Doug Adams, senior vice president, global logistics, with Avnet, a distributor of electronic components.


Over the past few years, a key strategic element at GE Appliances (GEA) has been developing and growing its local supplier base. Since 2016, GEA has boosted spending with U.S. suppliers nearly three-fold, while increasing its supplier base by 233%. This approach reduces risk by shortening delivery times, improving communication, and reducing transportation costs. It also allows for better control and visibility over the supply chain, as it reduces dependency on distant suppliers, and mitigates risks associated with geopolitical issues or trade restrictions. “Growing our U.S. supply base, and specifically a regional supply base around our plants, enables us to work closely with our suppliers to achieve our goals,” says J Lionel Ramirez, vice president and chief procurement oŒcer. Early 2023 also saw the introduction of the GE Appliances Launchpad program. Designed to grow and develop diverse-owned suppliers, this program educates participants on GEA’s supply chain needs, among other information. GEA worked with a Launchpad graduate, Cimtech Inc., a certified woman-owned business and manufacturer of precision machine parts and other products based in New Albany, Indiana. The two companies identified projects that could reduce downtime and increase safety in GEA plants. Cimtech provides a number of products and services, including channel weldments and justifier bar mounts, and will be part of future plant projects intended to reduce downtime. GE APPLIANCES PLUGS INTO LOCAL SUPPLIERS

Even solutions that provide shippers and carriers end-to-end views of the shipments and inventory in their networks, such as RFID and integration with trading partners, can experience gaps. These might result from user error, a network node with limited technology, or a third-party logistics service provider that doesn’t offer visibility to goods in transit. “The primary challenge is gaining complete, consistent visibility,” says Adam Mussomeli, supply chain and network operations leader with Deloitte Consulting. The good news? Technology providers are beginning to acknowledge this challenge and are enhancing solutions to address it. For example, some logistics companies can provide visibility at the item and shipment level, based on data from carriers across the globe. Building end-to-end supply chain visibility also requires gaining visibility into each function or segment of the supply chain. Because transportation is a large part of this, companies are investing in solutions to address transportation visibility challenges. For instance, for in-transit goods, companies are using real-time transportation visibility platforms, transportation management systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, among other solutions.

January 2024 • Inbound Logistics 93

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