When something doesn’t happen every day and it only happens ‘occasionally’, is it really a problem or just an annoyance? Is something really wrong with the system or was it just a fluke? Not sure? Let me give you an example, let’s say your dishwasher is still washing the dishes but not drying them anymore, so you call an appliance repair person and they come out and fix it same day. A few weeks down the road the same thing happens again, and the same appliance repair guy comes out and fixes the issue within a few hours. During this time, you are still washing dishes, your normal routine isn’t really interrupted other than you leaving work 30 minutes early for your repair window. Now let’s pretend this cycle continues for the next year. How annoyed are you that every few weeks the appliance repair guy is at your house? Would you say this is a problem? How many hours have you given to this repair guy when you should have been working on other things?
So now let’s think about this, if you wouldn’t allow this type of problem to continue to happen in your own home, why would you allow this to happen on your production floor?
Companies who say it’s not a big deal when they occasionally run out of a part because their supplier can deliver it same day and their production lines are not down, are missing the red flags. They shouldn’t be relieved that their current supplier is close by and can get them parts right away, they should be questioning why they need a supplier close by.
A well run VMI system makes sure you always have the right parts, in the right place, at the right time, no matter how far away the distribution center is. Should you ever run into a situation where you need parts right away, question why you are out of parts, what is being done about it and, what steps are being taken to prevent this from happening in the future. A great VMI supplier provides continuous part replenishment, reduces overstock, and eliminates non-value added activities. If this type of service is not what you’re receiving on a daily basis, it’s time to reevaluate your supplier and look for someone who can provide you with a solution to your ‘occasional’ shortages.