Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
APEX Executives Say:
APEX Executives Say: "Prepare for Disasters Cooperatively"
Among the 3 challenge options 50 executives were given they voted to address Disaster Preparedness and Recovery.
Supply Chain

Supply Chain programs cover topics including:
Consulting, Counterfeit Components, Distribution, Facilities, Logistics, Market Trends, Mergers and Acquisitions, Outsourcing, RoHS, Standards, Training and more.
Authored By:
Pamela J. Gordon
Founder and President
Technology Forecasters, Inc.


IPC’s new President and CEO John Mitchell had a specific goal in mind when he invited me to conduct a brief version of TFI’s Executive Think Tank on the Supply Chain at the February IPC’s APEX EXPO in San Diego.

Would it surprise you to learn that among the 3 ‘challenge’ options the 50 executives were given — Supply-Chain Control, Supply Chain Constraints & Price Hikes, and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery — they voted to address Disaster Preparedness and Recovery?

If that doesn’t surprise you, then the scope of the executives’ solutions will.

(And yes, they very much met Mr. Mitchell’s goal.)

The beauty of the Executive Think Tank methodology is that the executives — upon receiving TFI’s forecast of industry issues — are guided in quickly rising above the “quarterly earnings” mentality and creating global solutions to entrenched problems.

In the case of the IPC member execs, the combination of full-group brainstorming and small-group solution-generation produced a roadmap for leading edge disaster planning and recovery.

They tackled every executive’s nightmare — how to keep the wheels turning when supply-chains and transportation are interrupted by natural disasters, political incidents, material shortages, logistics breakdowns, information technology glitches, or even just poor planning.

Their solution was clear: to guarantee that parts, products, and information keep flowing no matter what, global-scale cooperation is critical.

Here’s two of the eight elements that the execs said are needed for cooperative disaster planning and recovery:

Standards (nearly to the ISO level) detailed enough that all suppliers are quoting the same way, bills of materials are in compatible format, instructions for automated-assembly-and-test equipment are synchronous, electronic files are in common formats, part-numbering systems harmonize, and more — such that assemblies can swiftly move from one global location to another.

The second was global capacity repository created across the supply chain, comprising capacity on SMT equipment, box-build lines, test, and more.

Every participating party makes their capacity available for a particular service, and updates information connected to the repository system.

Aside from the unexpected disaster or other interruption, participating companies can tap into this network whenever they need a particular service; they might be light on test services, for example.

A level of anonymity would be built into the system such that companies can benefit from the repository without divulging competitive information.

Far-reaching ideas, yes?

Quite out of the norm for typical industry discussions?

Now you know that this 75-minute “taste” of Think-Tank thinking did indeed meet Mr. Mitchell’s goals for the event.

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