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Supply Chain Management

Effective supply chain management has always been critical in manufacturing.  On average, more than half of a manufacturer’s total spending occurs in the supply chain, making it an ideal target for reducing costs and mitigating risk. However, the bottlenecks that have emerged from the pandemic have dramatically increased the importance of supply chain development. Delayed materials can wreak havoc downstream by disrupting schedules, creating work stoppages and ultimately causing missed shipments to customers. Pandemics and other threats can reduce critical manufacturing capacity and the availability and integrity of critical goods, products, and services. Increasing the resilience of American supply chains in response to these challenges will revitalize domestic manufacturing capacity and create well-paying jobs.

The MEP National Network’s supply chain development and management services can help you improve the performance of your supply chain and manage the impact of disruptions. While each MEP Center customizes its services to the needs of local companies, here are some examples of support available:

  • Supply chain mapping and risk assessment
  • Supplier Scouting
  • Process improvement and supplier development
  • Procurement and supply chain management strategy

Supply Chain Mapping and Risk Assessment

MEP Center experts can help you map and assess your supply chain to identify sources of risk and develop risk management plans, such as identifying secondary or alternative suppliers as well as increasing safety stock. Our supply chain guide, written by Network experts, gives you a more strategic approach to supply chain development and managing supply chain risk.

Supplier Scouting

The national Supplier Scouting service can assist in identifying domestic suppliers with the capabilities you need, in some cases allowing you to reshore production, resulting in a shorter supply chain and reduced uncertainty. Learn more about the Network’s reshoring efforts with the Reshoring and the Pandemic: Bringing Manufacturing Back to America infographic.

Process Improvement and Supplier Development

MEP Centers’ deep expertise in lean, process improvement and quality systems can be applied across tiers in your supply chain. Experts work with companies and their supply chains to:

  • Reduce manufacturing critical path lead time, often employing methodologies such as systematically improving bottlenecks and lean inventory management systems
  • Drive quality systems throughout the supply chain and assist with original equipment manufacturer/supplier certifications
  • Share visibility and coordination on forecasting, demand and sales planning, operations planning and inventory management

MEP Center experts can also assist in developing supplier metrics or scorecards, which are critical to measuring performance, driving improvements, and determining which suppliers to reward with continuing or increased business.

Procurement and Supply Chain Management Strategy

MEP Centers and their partners have expertise in overall procurement and supply chain management strategy, helping companies manage: supplier segmentation (e.g., developing different strategies for the most important components vs non-critical maintenance, repair and operations items); supplier evaluation and selection; total cost of ownership (TCO); and establishing strategic supplier relationships.

Training on how to incorporate total cost of ownership into procurement and supply chain management is also available. This approach will give you a more complete perspective on the cost of purchased material. When you calculate TCO, you consider the additional costs beyond purchase price – particularly the expenses associated with sourcing from overseas suppliers, such as freight, tariffs, longer lead times, higher inventory costs, and the overhead expense of managing distant suppliers. It also considers the risks of lost sales, poor customer experience, and other external and internal business considerations. It is a more integrated view of the true cost of acquiring, owning, and using purchased components and materials.

We had been searching for reliable, high quality vendors for machined and formed components for the products that we build. FloridaMakes offered services that included making connections to qualified local vendors to fulfill our needs.  The services provided are a win-win for Northwest Florida businesses in that it helps our company and our vendors build revenue and create jobs.

— Mike Petkauskos, Director of Engineering, Honeycomb Aircraft Repair, LLC
Read the Success Story

The Importance of Domestic Supply Chains
The Importance of Domestic Supply Chains
Domestic manufacturing was underestimated for a long time, and to some degree it still is. Many small businesses have been challenged with getting product out through the pandemic. Manufacturers have experienced issues with affordability, material availability and lead times that are stretching out not weeks, but months. Are there domestic sources so manufacturers can respond quicker and work closer proximity wise to avoid being hinged on things that need to come in from Asia or even Europe. Having domestic supplies is extremely important from a quality standpoint because you can readily assess quality level of the componentry you're obtaining.If manufacturers have a weak supply chain, then it impacts their customers as well as impacting their business. World events show why it's very important to have domestic production here in the U.S, because at any point in time, geopolitical factors, macroeconomic factors can really change the landscape. Domestic manufacturers have an obligation to try to provide the best possible product for the least amount of costs and things like industry 4.0 and other initiatives like lean manufacturing help reduce costs to add value, and to make products more competitive. There's a lot of hard-working, intelligent workers in this country and we need to take advantage of that and not rely on Asia Pacific or low-cost countries in order to sustain. We saw during the pandemic what an impact to our supply chain that something like a global pandemic can have and it's important that we realize that for America to be successful and for America to continue to be a leader in the world, we must be able to sustain our industry here locally.



Manufacturing Reports

MEP National Network

Find out how your company can take a more strategic approach to managing your supply chain in the MEP National Network's supply chain guide – How Small Manufacturers Can Develop Risk Management Strategies for their Supply Chains.

Heartland Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has had overwhelming impacts on our economy, not to mention the impact on lives and personal wellness. The critical lack of medical equipment to treat and protect those affected highlights the over-reliance of United States manufacturing sector on overseas production. The offshoring issue extends beyond current pandemic concerns, however, reaching far larger and more permanent concerns over industrial supply chains, worker training and even national security.

For more information or assistance with your supply chain, please contact your local MEP Center.

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For General Information

  • MEP Headquarters
    (301) 975-5020
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 4800
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800
Created June 4, 2020, Updated May 22, 2024