I need an explanation for this Business question to help me study.
Slim Line Blinds A window coverings manufacturer, Slim Line Blinds, is having many problems with critical globally sourced parts. Slim Line has two manufacturing facilities in the United States, one in Los Angeles and the other in Atlanta.The firm’s reliance on efficient global supply chain operations is increasing as the manufacturer is sourcing more and more parts overseas, including critical components. Recent problems with a number of these critical parts have caused line shutdowns at the manufacturing plants. In response, Slim Line has mandated a six-week inventory on all globally sourced parts. Management has asked you to evaluate whether this is the right decision. First, you must understand Slim Line’s supply chain. Currently, there is very little visibility (knowledge of the current status) of inventory in the supply chain, and communication with the supply base is minimal. In fact, the window coverings manufacturer does not have any visibility past the Tier I suppliers. Adding to the complexity of this problem, each part of the supply chain is handled by different departments within the company. To understand the supply chain, Slim Line has asked you to map its supply chain. To do so, it has identified a critical component to follow in the supply chain. After hav-ing the opportunity to interview supply chain participants, including suppliers, you have collected the following information. The component is manufactured overseas in China by the Tier I supplier, Yeuxiu Blinds. The Yeuxiu Blinds production schedule is based on orders sent via fax from the Slim Line warehouse. It operates on a 90-60-30–day forecast, along with a weekly order. Yeuxiu Blinds holds a 9-week finished goods buffer inventory. Manufacturing time for each component is only about 3 days. Upon completion of the component, Yeuxiu Blinds sends the component via truck to the Shanghai Port, where it is loaded onto a ship heading to the United States. Truck transport takes 3 days and loading at the port takes 1 week. The ship bound to the United States takes about 14 days to travel overseas. Upon arrival in the United States, the component is unloaded at the Los Angeles port. This takes about 5 days and customs inspects the shipment in Los Angeles. The goods travel by train to Chicago, which takes about 7 days. Goods are held in Chicago for about half a week. From there, the component is trucked to a Slim Line warehouse where the 6-week inventory buffer has been mandated. Shipment to the Slim Line warehouse takes 2 days. From the warehouse, the components are trucked to plants in the United States triggered by electronic orders from each of the Slim Line plants. In talking to Yeuxiu Blinds, Slim Line has learned that the component is made up of two main raw materials: one from China and the other from the United States.
Due to the risk of running out of these raw materials, Yeuxiu Blinds maintains a 4-week buffer of the China-based raw materials and a 12-week buffer of the U.S.-based raw materials. These Tier II supplier orders are by formal purchase order only. It is interesting to note that Yeuxiu Blinds uses these suppliers due to Slim Line’s strict supplier qualification requirements.
1. Create a value-stream map (VSM) of this supply chain. Where is the risk for supply chain disruptions or stoppages to the flow of materials?
2. Where do opportunities reside to improve supply chain operations and how has VSM helped reveal these? What other information is needed?