Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “true cost” of things.
Our leadership team has been working on a particularly large order for more than a year. Since we restarted the production line for this discontinued COTS board several years back, this is the third ad hoc order we’ve accepted.
In each of these situations, we’ve found ourselves responding to a steady stream of requests from customers for information to help them navigate their procurement process. This is the nature of ad hoc production orders for older COTS board designs, and they take a long, long time.
For GDCA, this kind of hand-holding for orders late in the life cycle is business as usual, and we’ve built our business on responding to both planned and unplanned needs for old board designs. But even for us, responding to too many of these ad hoc, old-design requests undermines larger performance objectives, such as introducing new offerings, ensuring on-time delivery, and reducing overtime.
Everyone’s business depends on robust business processes that efficiently handle whatever scenarios the marketplace presents. Nobody likes exceptions because they drain resources and slow everything down.
This is not so different from the challenge faced by our industrial equipment maker customers who service commercial industries such as defense, medical, automotive, or industrial automation.
These companies spend countless years, hours, and distractions requalifying new supply sources for “obsolete” parts that have been discontinued. During this time when they don’t have a replacement, they can’t sell anything new, and customer relationships become strained.
In the meantime, C-level and VP-level folks throughout the supply chain travel the world to resolve operational supply-chain issues instead of spending time on new business and strategic priorities.
This is the true cost of ad hoc sustainment, and it’s avoidable with a little planning.