Here at Xometry, we are particularly attuned-to the ebbs and flows of particular industries, since our digital manufacturing marketplace has tens of thousands of customers ordering parts for everything from aerospace to defense to medical devices. When one of those industries experiences changes in demand, we quickly can recognize and quantify it through their activity patterns. Similarly, with over 4,000 manufacturers spread across 46 states as well as Europe and Asia, we can quickly spot who is busy and who has open capacity.
The rapid emergence and global spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, has created a shock unlike anything we have experienced recently. A recent ISM special survey showed nearly 75% of US companies have already experienced supply chain disruptions as a result of the coronavirus, and this number is likely to grow. These challenges have evolved rapidly. Initially there were issues sourcing products from China, which were dealt with by taking aggressive measures to limit the spread of the disease. Now, companies must prepare for supply disruptions within certain areas of the US as manufacturers themselves have to shut down due to illness or quarantines. At the same time, overseas capacity is coming back online.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 and other pandemics are not the only hurdles facing companies. Tariffs and trade policy are also present risks to supply. As borders close and nationalism rises across the world, it is not even clear if the traditional paradigm of labor cost being the largest determinant of the location to manufacture still holds true. As we are experiencing with the recent travel bans, other “Black Swan” risks could render entire continents inaccessible. Disasters like Fukushima and even more isolated supplier-specific issues like non-conformances or production delays can leave engineers and supply chain managers unable to meet demand. Harvard Business Review’s research found that few companies are well prepared for low-probability, high-impact events like these.
A world faced with disruptions like pandemics requires better planning and supply chains that are more responsive to change. Xometry’s experience serving thousands of manufacturers and suppliers gives us a unique perspective on how to manage through times of crisis. There are 7 things that our experience tells us leaders should consider:
If you would like to discuss how we can help you get the parts you need quickly and efficiently, or would like to discuss how your business can manage through these uncertain times, please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Altschuler, CEO Xometry