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One might say Gary Inscore is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, like many manufacturers, the director of master scheduling at printer manufacturer Printronix Inc. is contending with a much more globally distributed supply network and resulting longer supply lead times. Some of his spare parts and consumables suppliers, in fact, require lead times of up to six months.
On the other hand, Inscore must do his part to satisfy customers that are increasingly intolerant of delays in receiving spare parts. So determined is Printronix to keep customers happy that its CEO, Robert Kleist, insisted on putting its commitment to next-day parts availability right in the company's mission statement.
"That makes for a demanding environment," says Inscore, who recently upgraded Printronix's approach to demand planning from a largely manual process.
But Inscore isn't the only one being squeezed. Most manufacturers are being forced to negotiate between globally stretched supply networks and customers that won't accept out-of-stocks or long waits for finished goods. On top of that, many manufacturers are continually increasing the number and variety of products they sell, further complicating the task of planning.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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