Availability of Materials
Materials engineers and purchasing agents become frustrated in trying to obtain materials that have a limited number of producers or a limited production volume. Such frustration can be particularly high when a small amount of material is needed to finish a job or replace a failed piece. A modern and comprehensive document on the subject is the second edition of the classic CORROSION BASICS textbook. Some excerpts of that document are used here.
- Industry Dynamics: Metals companies are undergoing what can only be described as wrenching change. The competitive landscape is dramatically changing thanks to the following drivers: (reference)
- Industry consolidation
- Over capacity
- Price erosion
- Best Practices: The industry leaders are turning challenges into competitive advantage and seeking areas where technology can deliver needed improvements.
- Managing more complex supply chains: More complex supply chains are emerging as a consequence of the industry consolidation. Opportunities to benefit include: lower costs, faster response to customers, flexible product sourcing and more efficient distribution strategies.
- Consolidating disparate systems: Metals companies have built sophisticated information systems to support their operations. The undeniable strengths of the existing infrastructure can be leveraged while reining in costs and complexity. New business models that make decisions about customers and suppliers simple and as effective are now possible.
- Expediting order processing: Understanding customer needs while managing metallurgical and mill capabilities reduces overall processing time, a key element toward gaining market share.
- Innovative business processes: Redefining supply chain networks to maximize efficiency and adopting new business processes such as build-to-stock / finish-to-order allows metals companies to achieve extremely competitive lead times.
- Consolidating MRO spending: As an asset-intensive industry, keeping expensive facilities running is critical. Addressing the challenge of maximizing equipment uptime while reducing parts inventory uncover major benefits.
- Extended value chain: All too often, efficiency stops at the edges of the company. Streamlining cross-enterprise processes is the next great frontier for reducing costs, speeding operations and deliveries to create value for customers and shareholders.
MRO = Companies primarily engaged in the manufacturing, distribution and redistribution of maintenance, repair and operation supplies including: janitorial, electrical, bearings, tools, machinery, accessories, fire/safety equipment and many other industrial items, to a diversified market of redistributors and end-users