I interviewed Chris Powell who discussed Supply Chain Geographic Alignment.
It’s great to speak with you today, Chris, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the topic of supply chain geographic alignment. Before we start, can you provide a brief background of yourself?
Absolutely. Thank you, Dustin, for having me. My name is Chris Powell; I’m a founder of a company called Industrial Interface. I have a mechanical engineering degree, and I worked as a technical supplier to the automotive, electronic, aerospace industries here in San Diego, as well as northern Mexico prior to starting Industrial Interface, to solve many of the problems I saw as a technical supplier.
My background has evolved from sales to, now, programming and also business development. Industrial Interface has the most detailed capabilities database of U.S. manufacturers. We keep a close monitoring of over 750,000 U.S. manufacturers, distributors, and representatives and document their capabilities from products services, certification, and much, much more information about what those manufacturers actually do so that any sort of person looking to work with manufacturers can query our system by more than a mix code.
What problems do you solve with supply chain geographic alignment?
Our business breaks down into a couple different use cases, and one of them is for anyone involved in supply chain. Supply chain geographic alignment is the idea of having local suppliers to your manufacturing plant. The reasons that manufacturers would want to have that are: to solve problems like decreasing the amount of time it takes to have a product reworked; to decrease the shipping cost and time for materials and products and services to get to the manufacturer; to set up just-in-time delivery; to have a closer relationship with their suppliers; decreased time in auditing; decreased cost in auditing; and the ability for both parties to easily get to one another’s facilities and what not.
Can you talk about how you do it?
We built a database of U.S. manufacturers. What we do—I’ll use reshoring as an example—we take the products and services from building materials that a company would like to potentially evaluate local suppliers and align their supply chain locally. We take technical characteristics of those parts, plug them into a query in our database, and then show which suppliers within a hundred-mile radius of their manufacturing facility have capabilities to provide those products and services.
It allows companies to look at the total cost of ownership as opposed to just the actual price that they’re paying, factoring in the shipping cost and the likelihood of failure, of noncompliance parts, and then the cost of having a line down due to those noncompliant parts is usually much greater than the company would like to risk. They’ve moved toward aligning their supply chain locally. Another thing we do is, we can go through and actually flag manufacturers outside of a specific radius of your manufacturing plant, and then once we’ve flagged those, then we can identify alternatives that you can provide RFQs for the parts that you’re buying from currently nongeographically aligned suppliers.
Do you have any success you can share?
Sure. A company in central California was manufacturing specifically some big agricultural automation equipment. They were buying certain components from overseas—I can’t really disclose what they were but those overseas components were used in automation equipment. They had timed the delivery of those and the use of those into their automation equipment, and then a supplier delivered their parts according to schedule from, actually, China, and those Chinese parts failed to have the specifications that they said they would. It was actually a motor that didn’t have the required torque and it fried.
They were challenged with identifying a local supplier of a motor that specifically had those capabilities or reworking the ones that they had purchased. In this case, we were able to find a contract manufacturer of motors to take what they had purchased and rework them to meet the increased demand of their automation equipment and locally source in a matter of a week and a half as opposed to two months, which it was going to take to get that motor back from China.
Thanks, Chris, for sharing your views today on supply chain geographic alignment.
Absolutely, Dustin, I appreciate the opportunity. I look forward to speaking with you again in the future.
About Chris Powell
Founder overseeing Business Development