Anritsu transitioned from "firefighting" to becoming more proactive about balancing supply with demand, and managing only exceptions to the norm. "Our organization was excellent at firefighting," says Stenfort, "but it takes a lot of resources and effort, and there’s a lot of casualties." The company wanted to turn its experts into "more analytical, proactive supply-chain specialists."
The company began with a series of “what-if” scenarios, with the aim of verifying materials in place for the customer. Then it implemented a process for managing inventory shortages by exception.
Making sense of all the data is critical. Previously, Anritsu had juggled three separate shortage reports, covering procurement, manufacturing and planning. Those reports had “commonalities and differences,” Stenfort says. The three were consolidated into one centralized shortage-management process.
The system today examines shortages based on order backlogs and the forecast, as well as updates provided by buyers and planners. There’s no need for manufacturing to exchange e-mails with those individuals. Now, says Stenfort, the relevant information is available immediately.
Planners used to spend up to half their time “just chasing material,” Stenfort says. Today, with the new process in place, they have cut that down to around 10 percent. At the same time, Anritsu has made progress toward preventing shortages from occurring in the first place.
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