Global supply chains can suddenly present you with unexpected challenges. Global supply chains are affected by events happening all over the world. They are more unpredictable than local or regional supply chains because there are so many more players involved. And because they are exposed to natural as well as man-made events happening in different parts of the globe.
While you are focused on supporting Fantastic Corp’s expansion into Europe (or just trying to keep up with demand in North America), something unexpected happens on the other side of the world. An earthquake and tsunami strike suddenly, and production of a critical component is halted because of damage done to the factory of one of your suppliers in Japan. For lack of this component, production comes to a halt. For lack of production, stores run out of inventory. And for lack of inventory, customers are turned away. Sales stall. If Fantastic can’t meet customer demand, then a competitor will.
You need to find a new supplier for this critical component — the Fantastic CPU. The Fukushima Factory is now out of commission, and is expected to take up to eight months to repair damage and resume production. When you find a new supplier, you need to reconfigure your supply chain to incorporate the new supplier. You want to minimize disruption to product assembly in the Los Angeles factory, and avoid reductions in product delivery to stores that sell the Fantastic Corporation’s home entertainment center.
Case Study Introduction
This case study is an introduction to business continuity and supply chain risk management. It shows what can happen to global supply chains when an unexpected event occurs. It picks up where the “Fantastic Corporation – Business Expansion” case study ends. It uses the expanded supply chain model you created while working on that case study and takes it forward. There is also an option for using this case study if you did not work through the previous Business Expansion case.
If you created a supply chain model during your work on the Business Expansion case for Fantastic Corp, then use that model as you work through this case study. If you did not work on the Business Expansion case, or do not have a supply chain model that runs for 30 days, there is a supply chain model in the library that you can use. It is labeled “Fantastic Corp 30 Day”. It does not have the expansion needed to support Europe, but it will run the existing business in North America for 33 days.
This is a case where the extra inventory (or planned safety stock) that may have built up in your global supply chain will come in handy. Inventory often builds up in spite of people’s best efforts. You may not have exactly planned to let that happen but sometimes things work out, and because of this extra inventory you may have a bit more time to do what needs to be done to handle this disruption. And of course, some of this inventory was planned safety stock that you carry at certain facilities to guard against disruptions this like this.
YOUR CHALLENGE — You need to find a new supplier to replace the component part that you can no longer get from the crippled factory in Japan. Your company has decided to look for a new supplier in Malaysia. Malaysia is not as stable a country as Japan, and there are new risks involved in doing business with a supplier in Malaysia. This new supplier may be only an interim supplier while your Japanese supplier makes repairs to their factory, or it may become a long term supplier for your company. You will decide based on the research and simulation results you observe.
Do the best research you can with the time available. Do web searches on key words and phrases; scan the websites and information that comes up. Don’t get lost in the details; look for key facts and insights to help you make decisions as described in the points below:
- First, run the 30-day simulation of the supply chain (either the one you created in the previous case study or the one you loaded from the SCM Globe library). Notice how inventory flows through the supply chain. Click on different facilities in the data displays on the right side of the simulation screen. Watch the Fantastic CPU inventory flow from Fukushima to the warehouse in Tokyo and across the Pacific to the Seattle Factory where it is used in an assembly operation.
- Now remove the Fukushima Factory and its vehicle and delivery route from the supply chain model. Then run the simulation and see how long it runs before lack of the Fantastic CPU product causes the simulation to stop. In the real world this would be the amount of time you have to find and incorporate a new supplier into your supply chain before disruptions would occur in your manufacturing operations. You may be able to gain a bit more time by making better use of existing supplies.
- Explore ways to make best use of existing supplies of the Fantastic CPU to keep production going as long as possible. If you pulled in all inventory of CPUs spread throughout the supply chain and concentrated that inventory at the facility where it is used, how many days of production can you support?
- Next, research companies in Malaysia that can produce a product like the Fantastic CPU; search on electronics and computer chip fabrication companies. Here are some websites that list CPU suppliers based in Malasia (and you can find others):
- Available information is sparse. Some of these companies may be little more than mailing addresses or outlet channels for other CPU manufacturers who prefer to remain unnamed for various reasons. Welcome to the world of procurement. The powers that be at Fantastic Corp decided they want to do business with a supplier in Malasia, so do your best (“Yours not to reason why, yours but to do and die…”).
- Look at the websites of these manufacturers and do more research to see what else you can find. Pick one to be the new CPU supplier. Assume the price will be the same as the price from the Fukushima Factory, and assume they can provide the same quantity of product. Consider things such as location of the supplier and any other relevant factors. List your reasons for picking the supplier that you selected.
- Find the location of this new Malaysian supplier and place its facility on the map. Create a new product (call it “New CPU”) to represent the CPU this supplier will provide; use the same product specifications as those for the CPU from the Fukushima Factory.
- How do you deliver the New CPU from the new supplier in Malaysia to Singapore? Create a new vehicle and delivery route to bring the New CPU to Singapore (use the default vehicle costs or research costs in Malasia if you have time).
- Assume you deliver the CPU from the new supplier to the supplier in Singapore so you can ship both products from the same location. You could ship both products on the same vehicle to the Long Beach factory, but this would involve changing the assembly operation performed at the Seattle Factory or moving that operation entirely to Long Beach. If you don’t want to change the operation in Seattle, you will need to ship the New CPU on a different vehicle directly to Seattle or Tokyo – consider the trade offs. What are the transportation and operating costs associated with keeping the assembly operation unchanged in Seattle versus closing the Seattle facility and moving all operations to Long Beach?
- The CPU from Malaysia and the motherboard made in Singapore are both low weight and low volume items that have a high value so both can be shipped by air freight if need be. Maybe you want the supplier in Singapore to combine the New CPU with the motherboard to create a component that you send to Seattle or Long Beach or another facility. List a couple of product assembly options and note how they would affect the supply chain design.
- Now review all the facilities where the CPU is stored or used and change over from the old Fantastic CPU to the New CPU. Do the same for the routes that transport this CPU and substitute the New CPU for the old one.
- Make needed adjustments so this new supply chain will run for 30 days. What adjustments do you make, and what kind of ripple effects do you see because of these adjustments to add this new supplier?
Model some of the supply chain options described above and run simulations and see what happens. Refine your supply chain design based on what you see in the simulations. How quickly and how efficiently can you respond to this unexpected disruption? Do you recommend using this new supplier as a long-term supplier or just as an interim supplier? Why?
TIP: Save backup copies of your supply chain model from time to time as you make changes. Then if a change doesn’t work out, you can restore from a saved copy.
NOTE: You can use the default values that come with this model for rent and transportation costs, or you can do some research to get more accurate numbers. Ask your instructor about this.
Write up your findings and recommendations in a short executive briefing (a 3 – 5 page report or a short deck of presentation slides). Use screenshots and data produced by simulations to illustrate your main points and your recommendations.
This is what managing a global supply chain is all about; unexpected things happen. Working through this case study will give you an appreciation for what people mean when they talk about business continuity and supply chain risk management. Are you up to it?
For Instructors – see pages 22 – 24 of the SCM Globe Instructor Manual (Ver 2.7.9.A – Nov 2017) for a further discussion of the business risk factors related to the supply chain discussed in this case study.
For ideas on how to work on this case see “Tips for Building Supply Chain Models” . This is a good case study to incorporate more accurate techniques for modeling transportation costs and delivery schedules; they are explained in this tutorial. Scroll down to the “Vehicles” section and read about adjusting speed and cost of ocean shipping containers. At the end of the Vehicles section there is also a short description for how to make a one time delivery of products from one facility to another.
Register on SCM Globe to gain access to this and all other case studies. Click the blue “Register” button on the home page (www.scmglobe.com) and buy a subscription (if you haven’t already) using a credit card or PayPal account. Then go to the SCM Globe library and click the “Import” button next to this case study. Scan the “Getting Started” section (if you haven’t already), and you are ready to go. To share your changes and improvements to this model with other SCM Globe users see “Download and Share Supply Chain Models”
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