You want to design outstanding products for your customers. You want to assemble them efficiently and cost-effectively. While many OEMs may overlook this, collaborating with manufacturing partners and suppliers can contribute to these areas in significant ways.

Supply chain product design as a competitive advantage


As a key supplier, Acorn can unlock competitive advantages through integrating product design in the supply chain. A trusted OEM partner can input and contribute to product design in a number of ways. From offering custom parts to finding ways to replace them (and decrease cost) with standard parts, using alternate components from better sources, through to suggesting and providing assembly efficiencies and consolidation, along with more effective kitting design.

Manufacturers must keep looking for creative ways to slim their costs. Reducing (and standardising) parts and fasteners means cheaper and more common supply sources, less expense with custom parts and elimination of bottlenecks related to short-run bespoke production. A master supplier is in a unique position to leverage expertise and overview of global supply networks to contribute practical knowledge and bottom-line savings to this process.

When designing a product, instead of completely designing it from scratch, companies can take components that they already know work well and modify them with new improvements or use them as-is from other suppliers. When assembling the product, manufacturers can collaborate with their suppliers for best practices on assembly line setup and assembly which will also lead to lower costs in general. Acorn are well-versed in providing production line optimisation with OEM clients, inserting SCM technologies to maximise gains.

Supply chain risk, agility, initial and lifetime costs can all be significantly affected by decisions taken at the product design stage. As global markets and market conditions have become more competitive, volatile and interconnected, the opportunity to integrate supply chain and product design provides a crucial avenue of competitive advantage and strategic success.

How to marry product design to supply chain

— combat the silo mentality of product design & engineering
— facilitate discussion and collaboration with key suppliers at the design phase
— cultivate organisation values and engineer skillsets that are outward looking and open to expert input that improves company objectives on a macro-level
— allow for input on materials and sourcing that can acutely impact resilience and cost factors

Assembly & product collaboration drivers for supply chain flexibility

— joint product development with suppliers
— sub-assembly and outsourcing points
— suitable supplier selection & long-term relationship building
— 3PL (third party logistics) development
— supplier certification, development & quality management
— integrated information systems (including barcodes, EDI, portals, RFID)

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