Apr 22, 2010

Things I never thought I'd have to worry about

A volcano in Iceland slowing shipments to and from Europe, since we ship everything by plane now. Inventory costs money but so do lost sales.

The longshoreman strike on the west coast about five years ago also slowed me down, back when we shipped by boat. Then it was product development and not production so it wasn't as urgent. We just moved to another piece of the project.

Everyone loves the idea of second sources, but small companies don't have time. Each new supplier of a custom part generally requires dozens of hours of training. "If you don't take that burr off, its not going to meet the specification. Please mask those holes next time like it clearly states on the drawing, etc." I can only improve the products or the business at once, take your pick. Improving products improves the business, although that is no good if you're out of business.

So you pick critical parts and go from there. A machine shop, you can get up to speed fairly quickly if you spend the time. Extruded tubing, not so fast, there is a 12 week material lead time, better plan for that. And even better is that some regulators want to be notified of a supplier change or even an alternate. We also implemented a finance check based on the current economy, but that has been a waste of time, our suppliers should do a finance check on us!

No comments: