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Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

Meeting the 2024 Supply Chain With a Motion Control Manufacturer

Meeting the 2024 Supply Chain With a Motion Control Manufacturer

Posted by Weber Knapp on Jan 17, 2024 10:48:00 AM


Think about the last project you spearheaded. 

Did you face any supply chain issues sourcing crucial parts? 

Were there any communication barriers such as time zone differences or speaking different languages?

Did you bite your nails over shipping delays?

In the now largely global economy, these are all considerations of supply chain management. An essential part of the manufacturing process, effective supply planning involves ensuring that all materials and components you need are available when you need them. Without it, you run the risk of running out of stock at critical moments in production and facing costly delays. 

With that in mind, has your company looked at working with a domestic mechanical motion control manufacturer yet?

2024 Supply Chain Outlook

If you’ve read a few articles on the supply chain outlook 2024, you’ve probably come across the same theme – supply chain management this year will remain as it has for the last several years: challenging. 

While there’s not a global pandemic throwing a giant wrench in the global wheels of commerce, there are a few key factors that are making managing the 2024 supply chain a bit tricky: 

  • Transportation Costs: Rising fuel costs are significantly impacting maritime transportation expenses, compounded by declining freight rates and increased container capacity, challenging the shipping industry. 
  • Supply and Demand Imbalances: The delivery of large container ships expected in 2024 is set to outpace demand, contributing to an oversupply in container capacity. This surplus, coupled with slowing demand, makes it difficult for shipping companies to formulate sustainable pricing models, potentially leading to soft pricing extending into 2025. 
  • Global Trade Disruptions: global trade faces disruptions from geopolitical tensions and environmental changes such as ongoing overseas conflicts and drought conditions in the Panama Canal.

The Push to Reshore

If your company is looking for mechanical motion control solutions, it’s best to look to a U.S.-based manufacturer.

Why is that? 

The third-party supplier profile is changing. 

In the past decade, more than 1 million jobs have been reshored back to the U.S.
A movement is afoot, brought on not only by a pandemic and its subsequent supply chain disruptions, but also a legislative push to bring back localization – manufacturing a product in the same country as its market.

4 Reasons to Reshore With a Motion Control Manufacturer

There are many routes to effective supply planning for your manufacturing needs.

We'll look at some of the ways reshoring supplied parts – such as those for motion control – can mitigate supply chain issues, including:

  1. Localization
  2. Single sourcing
  3. Vertical integration
  4. Inventory management


1. Localization

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a renewed emphasis on producing goods locally for the market they’re intended to serve.  

Weaknesses in a global supply chain were fully exposed during the pandemic. For instance, 

foreign factories suffered losses and slowed production, or shut down entirely. At the same time, shipping companies also struggled to maintain their routes with fewer workers, only to reach American shores and have nowhere to unload due to backlog at the docks.

Companies now calculate supply-chain risk in their overall cost analyses – and it pays to source locally for: 

  • Mitigating supply chain disruption
  • Benefiting domestic economies
  • “Made in the U.S.A.” branding
  • Freight costs 

Companies reshoring elements of their supply chains have also found gains in better communication and faster lead times working with U.S. manufacturers.


2. Single Sourcing

Single sourcing is the deliberate choice of a company to contract a single supplier to provide a particular part or component. This is different from sole sourcing, where a provider is selected because they’re the only supplier available.

The single-sourcing approach helps companies:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Cut costs
  • Improve quality

Because it’s a competitive process, partnering with the right single-source supplier streamlines purchasing and frees up administrative time spent procuring parts. 

Working with a single-source, American-based hinge manufacturer, you only need to make one phone call to one source. And building closer relationships with your supplier leads to further savings through improved communication and collaboration on future projects.

How do you find the right single-source supplier? 

Don’t spring for the lowest bidder – a quality-based bidding process takes into account the extent and quality of a bidder’s product, as well as its reputation for service, collaboration, and delivery. Overseas manufacturing prices are generally cheaper. However, the finished product(s) don’t always live up to expectations. 

When integrated into a localized, reshoring approach, single sourcing with the right hinge manufacturer leads to: 

  • better communication, 
  • higher quality parts, 
  • speedier development and delivery, and 
  • more convenient interactions.


3. Vertical Integration

Taking control of two or more stages of the production and/or distribution process for a product, i.e. vertical integration, allows manufacturers to control costs, ensure better quality control, and gain greater efficiencies in the supply chain.

When you work with a vertically integrated hinge supplier, they control every aspect of their process, from the initial design phase through production. They handle:

  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Raw materials processing
  • Finishing 
  • Assembly 
  • Packaging
  • Shipping 

With everything under one roof, they have better control over product quality and lead times, as well, boosting both your production schedule and finished products.

Learn more about Weber Knapp's Vertical Integration


4. Inventory Management

Since inventory counts on a company’s balance sheet as assets, it’s essential to manage it properly. Company leaders must weigh the risks of not having enough inventory (think: supply chain disruptions) against the onus of eating up company cash to store more product than necessary. 

In turning away from traditional production (the higher the output, the higher the profit margin) they’ve come up with a variety of “lean” inventory management methods, such as Just-in-Time (JIT).

With the JIT method, as the name suggests, a company holds only enough inventory to meet its current demands. Operating under JIT reduces waste and saves a lot of money – but, it’s also gambling that nothing will disrupt the supply chain. In JIT, supply chain disruptions, which are more common now in partnerships with overseas manufacturers, cause bottlenecks, which cost a lot of money.

Many companies have invested countless hours and dollars implementing lean manufacturing, including JIT inventory management styles. Should they abandon JIT for more traditional methods to mitigate supply chain issues? 

Absolutely not.

Combining lean inventory management with localization enables a company to reap the benefits of storing less inventory while shortening the physical distance between it and its suppliers. Reducing transportation time for goods, as well as reducing communication problems, also lends well to the JIT method.


Supply Planning & Bringing it All Together

Reshoring is about more than just localization – finding the right U.S. manufacturer to partner with means also looking for a company capable of providing single-source services and vertical integration, and that has its own inventory management under control. 

In forging partnerships based more on risk-competitiveness, reducing lead times, preventing bottlenecks, and, overall, providing better customer experiences, companies are benefiting more than just their bottom lines by reshoring.


Partner With the Right Hinge Manufacturer

As a vertically integrated, single-source partner, the Weber Knapp team is ready to become an extension of your team, sharing technology and contributing to the design of your product through a continuous collaborative effort. Let’s work together.

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Topics: Motion Control, Counterbalance Hinge, Hinges