Suppliers confident in 2013, but manufacturers need assurance

The supply chain is a two-way street. On one side there are suppliers, and on the other, there are manufacturers who use the parts and resources they provide. It's not just a business transaction either, but a personal interaction, as communication between the two parties is crucial to success. However, while a new survey shows many suppliers and manufacturers are confident about their 2013 prospects, responses showed better communication is needed. To help rectify that disconnect, supply chain recruiters can help businesses find the most skilled and communicative personnel to improve the process.

Expectant revenue increase next year
In ASQ's 2013 Manufacturing Outlook Survey, nearly 65 percent of manufacturing respondents expect increased revenue in 2013, and another 70 percent said they had already experienced revenue growth in 2012. The results are nearly identical to the responses from a survey on the outlook for 2012, when 66 percent anticipated better revenue and 70 percent said they had better revenue in 2011.

Additionally, 75 percent of suppliers said they are confident they will be able to meet the needs of their manufacturing customers in 2013.

Some difficulties ahead
However, despite the general sentiment of positivity for suppliers and manufacturers in 2013, some respondents expressed concern in regard to the supply chain relationship. Thirty-three percent of manufacturing respondents anticipate a problem with a supplier in the new year, leading to a shortage of parts or services. Thirty-seven percent do not expect any issues, and 30 percent weren't sure.

Of the group that expect problems, 42 percent said they are working with their suppliers to improve the process and mitigate volume capacity. However, many suppliers without top talent – which supply chain recruiters can help find – may be in trouble, as 26 percent said they will work with their current partner's competitors.

"Any shortage of parts or services can have a dramatic effect on a manufacturer so it's important for companies to communicate openly with suppliers to avoid any disruption in production," said Dick Gould, ASQ Fellow. "Conversely, it's important to suppliers to work with manufacturers to provide them with the quality parts or services to ensure a long-term relationship."

It's of the utmost importance that suppliers adequately prepare themselves for revamped communication avenues and processes with manufacturers. Some may even need additional help to preserve their existing relationships by hiring more vocal and detail-oriented individuals, a task best accomplished with the help of supply chain recruiters.