The COVID-19 pandemic created many bumps in global supply chains. Discover the strategies implemented by Olea to keep customers happy and help smooth out the unwanted bumps.
Although it’s been a few years since COVID-19 first appeared, supply chain issues still plague many industries. Kiosks are no exception. Manufacturers don’t always have the parts on hand to complete orders. Suppliers struggle with shipping delays. As a result, longer lead times have become the norm for many companies.
Who do supply chain problems affect? Pretty much everyone. Let’s explore a few statistics:
• Reports reveal that 75% of companies said supply chain issues negatively impacted their businesses.
• Nearly 60% of consumers in the US have been unable to secure a product because of supply shortages.
At Olea, we know the importance of fulfilling orders accurately and on time. And while many people may have anticipated we would underperform like many other businesses, we continue to take pride in the track record we’ve managed, and we deliver top-of-the-line products to our customers as promised.
Here are our tried-and-true strategies for building and maintaining a solid supply chain:
1. Partner Relationships Are Top Priority
Lasting relationships with vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and our customers are critical. Olea takes pride in maintaining close connections with these partners. We keep all communication open and honest, ensuring everyone stays in the loop when it comes to changes in the supply chain. These relationships provide insight into:
- Product roadmap updates
- End-of-life updates
- Current lead times
- Future forecasts
While some companies switch vendors constantly, we work closely with ours. We have a long history with many of our partners. They trust us, and we appreciate them. These symbiotic relationships give us the upper hand when navigating around and overcoming any unforeseen supply chain obstacles.
2. New Processes Replace Legacy Systems
Staying ahead of the supply chain requires agility and innovation. Visibility is a must. Instead of relying on old-school legacy systems, we replaced them with new processes. Here are some examples:
• COP System: Short for customer-owned property, our COP system enables Olea to let customers store their machines at our facility. We build, finish, and hold the products in our warehouse, ready for shipping with just 24 hours’ notice. This allows groups to buy in larger volumes so they’re getting a better price too. Our unique COP system reduces lead times and lets customers react faster to their own client needs—a win-win!
• Improved Data Management: While vendors stock a lot of basic popular products, anything with custom variations needs more lead time. Our goal is to shorten these waits. We monitor our order window to ensure we always have some in their production window, some in transit, and some on our production line. Putting some components on our shelves helps us capitalize on reduced lead times and quicker shipping, regardless of the supply chain.
Forecasts Can Make or Break You
Sure, no one can truly predict the future. But it is possible to forecast what will likely happen. At Olea, we implemented a 6-month rolling forecast of sales. The results let us respond proactively to the latest kiosk trends and customer demand.
Some examples include:
• Ordering up-and-coming peripherals with enough lead time
• Maintaining close dialogue with customers to plan for large orders
• Buying large quantities of the same components to push us to the front of the supply chain
Forecasting helps us better manage the supply chain, but we’ll do this along with our customers. Olea takes forecasting seriously. We always cross-check our findings before acting.
There are scenarios where we may submit a blanket PO for certain peripherals and there are other instances where we may ask our customers to, but we’re in this together.
In some cases, we keep more components on hand—it really depends on the project, component, and timing. But there’s comfort in knowing we have warehouse space to ensure our shelves stay full. And having the most sought-after products in stock lets us overdeliver to our customers.
Risk Management Is Essential
Maintaining a solid supply chain is a very delicate process. Empty shelves increase lead times and create unhappy customers. But stockpiling can also cost a company if those products never find a buyer. Risk management is a must.
At Olea, we believe communication with vendors is key. We have regular conversations to know what the supply chain looks like behind the scenes. Supply chain shortages have eased a bit in recent months. But some products still have extended lead times—in some cases up to 20 weeks! Examples include power supplies, certain peripherals, and anything used in electric vehicles.
We weigh every risk carefully. For example, if an established customer wants a component with a lengthy wait, we’ll let them know. And if we are confident they will place the order, we’ll go ahead and buy it. Our commitment to 8-week lead times hasn’t wavered.
Staying Ahead of the Supply Chain at Every Step
The pandemic fueled the need for self-service kiosks. Consumers now desire fast, simple, contactless ways to transact, and businesses must find a way to deliver. At Olea, this shift means ensuring we always stay in front of supply chain issues. Regardless of obstacles, our dedicated team always finds a way to reduce lead times and deliver superior products to every customer. Want to learn more about how Olea avoids long lead times and maintains a solid supply chain? Connect with us online for a consultation with one of our self-service kiosk experts.