There are a lot of potential risks in a manufacturing environment. Safety measures have to be taken and enforced to keep employees from injuring themselves or others. Another place where risk can be an issue is with your supply chain. This is not the same kind of risk of bodily harm but rather a risk to the effectiveness of your business. When risk is so ambiguous how do you plan for it? Here are some ideas to improve the risk factor in your supply chain.
- Be hands on. Risk is lessened when you can see all sides of the problem. Make sure you have access to all parts of your supply chain and understand each factor. Not only must you observe the things that are happening in your business every day but you need to fully appreciate all of the moving parts that go into successful production.
- Provide the right tools. Once you understand all of the parts of your supply chain it is time to pass the process to your employees. Trust your team and give them everything they need to be successful. If there is technology that will make the job easier and safer, invest in it. Ensure your employees are trained in all the proper procedures to make your production run smoothly.
- Scenario planning. The more prepared you are for situations that may cause a stop in production, or worse, the better you can solve a real crisis when it occurs. You and your risk management team should develop situations and protocol to handle them and practice regularly. You may not be able to anticipate every possible circumstance but by carefully planning how to solve problems you are more likely to be successful when something does occur.
- Avoid single source supply. There are so many things that can disrupt your supply chain. These can include anything from natural disasters to a labor dispute that affects your supplier. The best way to mitigate risk in this fashion is to spread the risk around to several suppliers. In the procurement process consider working with multiple suppliers for the same components of your product. This way, when something does affect one, you are more likely to be able to continue production.
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