Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (September 30, 2022)

Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction in southwest Florida on Wednesday (following Hurricane Fiona’s destruction in Puerto Rico earlier this month), and as I write this, it is strengthening again into a Category 1 storm and heading toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone directly affected by these storms.

As you would expect, there are widespread power outages, many roads and bridges are closed, and port operations have been suspended. In short, supply chains are getting disrupted yet again, and it will likely take weeks or months to fully recover.

What can you do to help? If you’re in the logistics industry, I recommend contacting the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). According to a press release ALAN issued earlier this week:

ALAN’s response relief efforts – which include fielding and filling specific requests for logistics help – will commence later this week if the storm’s strength and path continue as predicted.

“Most of our requests for assistance arrive after a hurricane or tropical storm has hit,” said Kathy Fulton, ALAN’s Executive Director. “That’s because each storm winds up having very different outcomes and pain points. And you really can’t predict what those will be – and where relief organizations will require supply chain assistance the most – until after the storm has moved through.”

ALAN is also one of the charities we support via our Indago supply chain research community. If you’re a supply chain or logistics professional from a manufacturing, retail, or distribution company, please consider joining Indago today (it’s free, confidential, and the time commitment is minimal) and select ALAN as the charity you want to support.

Moving on to other supply chain and logistics news…

The Weakest Link in Ford’s Supply Chain

“You’re only as good as your worst supplier. When you’ve got 8,000 parts in an engine, if one of those parts isn’t there, you’re not building an engine.”

That quote by Greg Hayes, former CEO of United Technologies, came from a 2015 Wall Street Journal article about supply issues Pratt & Whitney (a unit of United Technologies) experienced that summer that almost brought its engine production operations to a halt.

Years earlier in 2007, Boeing experienced a shortage of nuts and bolts used to assemble the Dreamliner, which resulted in a costly delay. 

And now comes Ford. As Nora Eckert reports in the Wall Street Journal:

“Ford Motor Co. has delayed deliveries of certain vehicles because it didn’t have the blue oval badges that go on them…The car company has run into supply constraints with the brand-name badges and the nameplates that specify the model, according to people familiar with the matter. Both parts are affixed to the vehicle’s exterior and are important identifiers for the auto maker’s products. A company spokesman confirmed it has held some vehicle shipments because of a lack of badges.”

All of these cases underscore the growing importance of supply chain mapping and risk management. Which components, products, or nodes in your supply chain would take a large bite out of your sales and profits if a disruption (such as a major hurricane) occurred? If you can’t immediately answer that question and quantify the potential financial impact, you have serious work to do.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “I’m So Bored” by Sarah and the Sundays