By Shirish Joshi, Practice Lead – Operations and Supply Chain

Coronavirus has had a huge and unprecedented impact on global supply chains and people around the world. In response, we at Product Realization Group (PRG), decided to launch a series of blogs, featuring diverse insights and strategies on how to build a successful supply chain during these unpredictable times. We featured four blogs, featuring partner and customer insights, in addition to last week’s blog which featured the consumer perspective, where Jessica Ching spoke with colleagues and partners about how they have personally been affected by Coronavirus.

Jeff Rosen kicked off our blog series with an excellent overview of top areas to consider when building your supply chain. His advice was specifically relevant for larger companies, which are much different from smaller ones when it comes to resources (monetary and manpower) and strategy regarding manufacturing. Specifically, he focused on effective supplier management, new product introduction, planning and forecasting and leveraging the right tools for workflow management. Additionally, he brought out a key point, which was about how important the right supply chain team is for success. Smaller companies are unlikely to have the resources to have these assets in-house full time. Relying on outsourced partners like PRG can ensure startups have the expertise and relationships in place to effectively navigate the supply chain landscape.

Our second blog, written by Scott Miller, focused on China and the supply chain. Scott has nearly 20 years of experience working in the region and highlighted that while there has been decline in manufacturing growth, he feels there is still opportunity in China due to strong supply chains in the region, as well as in surrounding countries. Scott also highlighted the importance of the end-to-end value chain, something that is often overlooked. It isn’t just about manufacturing and shipping – the chain stretches all the way from suppliers’ supplier to delivering to the customers’ customers. PRG can help companies with the entire process, including those who are looking to move outside China to avoid tariffs and geopolitical challenges, and build supply chains in alternative countries.

Our third blog was a bit different because it gave the customer perspective, highlighting how a company focused on the workplace safety industry was seeking help bringing their product to market and building a supply chain strategy. As a first step, PRG developed a comprehensive roadmap that included a product development schedule, Bill of Materials (BOM) costing and commercialization risk management. This article touched on something that I consider to be critical in bringing products to market- and that is documentation and collaboration. Especially with smaller companies, and those who outsource much of their work due to resource constraints, ensuring accurate product recordkeeping can be a huge challenge, leading to major inefficiencies, poor product quality control, lost time and revenue. For this customer and others, we usually recommend a product lifecycle management (PLM) system, like that of our partner, Arena Solutions, which can effectively manage product information. This is particularly important in today’s uncertain times where teams work together over video and chat, versus meeting in-person.

Wayne Miller shared some valuable information on how to determine if offshore or onshore manufacturing is best for your product in his blog. His recommendations spanned component types as well as industries, and noted that more complex or larger items sometimes make sense to manufacture onshore, which I think is an important point. American companies are even manufacturing larger items in countries like Mexico so that they can take advantage of close proximity and low cost of transport to the U.S., versus overseas manufacturing. PRG can work with you to determine the location that is best for your product manufacturing and provide resources who are skilled in that particular geography.

As we wrap up this series, PRG would like to thank our partners for their participation and invaluable insights they have shared. If you would like to discuss how PRG can help you with your supply chain strategy and successfully bringing your product to market, please contact us here.

Shirish Joshi has over 30 years of experience in Manufacturing Operations and Supply Chain development in the high technology industry in diverse products such as computing systems, telecommunications, IoTs, solar and consumer goods. His extensive experience includes large multi-national companies such as Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, Apple and Magellan Navigation, as well as early stage startups like Neoteris, World Wide Packets, Pluribus Networks and LittleBits. Over 15 years of his experience has been as a Vice President of Operations.