OEMs: Preparing for the Unexpected in a Global World

By Logan Wamsley

Some supply chain risks are predictable and even expected — and as such, OEMs, through proper foresight and preparation, can mitigate, if not outright eliminate, any issues that may occur because of them. Other risks, however, cannot be easily quantified, and therefore, cannot be predicted with any real assurance. One such instance is the inherent risk of operating within an area or region that might experience instability.

According to BSI Intelligence, countries that experience serious political instability exported $733 billion of goods in 2014. Civil wars, protests, uprisings, and other such sudden events in unstable environments can, when not considered in a supply chain strategy, unquestionably lead to issues supporting the lifecycle of an OEM product. Even more problematic, once the issue occurs, loss of communications, travel hazards, and general time delays caused by this turmoil make it difficult to solve supply chain problems in such regions. While it is true that some regions or countries can be considered more stable than others in this regard, the size and duration of these events are largely unpredictable.

If the supply chain cannot avoid such a presence in these regions, it is imperative that OEMs first conduct research to understand the historical and current political climates of the geographic area in which they plan to work. Any news that hints a chance of instability within a region should be heavily considered when developing a proactive strategy. In some cases, for example, sourcing materials from or storing inventory in a politically unstable region may be the only option, so it’s especially important to develop a strong contingency plan that accounts for worst-case scenarios.

The good news, however, is that certain aspects of an OEM supply chain can be avoided with the help of a reliable third-party service provider. One such aspect is long-term storage and warehousing. In some cases, OEMs without the necessary in-house infrastructure to adequately store, pack, and ship critical electronic components and semiconductors around the world opt to house their inventory offsite — typically near the point of assembly. For many OEMS with a global presence, this means incorporating the use of multiple facilities scattered throughout the global landscape. The more diversified the storage environment, the more likely an unexpected risk will occur to the detriment of the greater supply chain.

Partstat offers an alternative to this business model. Instead of spreading critical electronic inventory across the global landscape and exposing it to greater risk potential, Partstat’s long-term storage solutions allow OEMs to store and ship all of the inventory they require from a single secure, centralized location.

Partstat’s long-term storage solutions for electronic components and semiconductors are second to none in the electronics manufacturing industry. They include climate-controlled warehousing, full die and wafer banking capabilities, and even “best in class” semiconductor vault storage designed to protect even the most sensitive and irreplaceable electronic inventory from fire, flood, earthquakes, hurricanes, and electrostatic discharge. For each electronic component that requires long-term storage, Partstat will work with the customer to determine a strategy that is ideal for them and the inventory in question. Once the inventory is required for assembly, Partstat’s experienced team will pick, pack, and ship it in accordance to the component’s specifications anywhere in the world.

The unexpected will never be mitigated entirely as long as OEMs operate in an increasingly globalized landscape, but when such risks can be proactively avoided, manufacturers should take advantage by centralizing their long-term storage strategies, which through third party partners, is easier than ever before.