Filling the Gap

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Rethinking supply management in the age of global sourcing and lean

by Paul D. Ericksen, Rajan Suri, Bash'shar El-Jawhari, Aaron J. Armstrong, APICS magazine, February 2005

For many OEMs, order fulfillment — being able to deliver product to market quickly and flexibly — has been dramatically affected by lean initiatives, global sourcing and asset reduction. OEMs no longer have nearby suppliers, and asset-reduction initiatives have led them to adopt build-to-demand strategies. Suppliers struggle to efficiently and quickly produce fluctuating quantities and the often broad mix of products required by today's OEMs.

While global sourcing and asset reduction can lead to significant financial improvements, they also pose order fulfillment risk. How can manufacturers and suppliers fill the gap between operating lean and yet get the product to customers when they are ready to buy?

Read this article to learn how MCT — Manufacturing Critical-path Time — and Quick Response Manufacturing are responding to this dilemma.

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