Worldwide, manufacturers are gearing up to increase production, as reports have prognosticated growth in various markets. The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation recently released a study on the Latin America manufacturing sector, concluding that output in the region will increase through 2014. Researchers placed most of their focus on Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, as they account for more than 80 percent of manufacturing operations in Latin America. Mexico manufacturers are expected to benefit from the downstream effects of the U.S. economy's recent rebound, as American consumers and businesses drive demand for their wares. Brazil manufacturers have been in a slump over the past few years, but the growth of its auto industry is expected to bolster the nation's manufacturing sector. Overall, the region is expected to see its output increase nearly 5 percent by the end of 2014.
With U.S., China and now Latin America manufacturing operations expected to roar back to life in the coming months, it may be a good time for business leaders to assess their supply chain risk management protocols. The MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation and PricewaterhouseCoopers recently came together to release a report outlining the various hazards facing today's supply chain environments, particularly those operating in the global market. Researchers explained that supply chain organizations must contend with numerous threats to the longevity and stability of their operations, including fluctuating costs of materials and operating expenses.
Complexities Create More Risks
As organizations expand, their supply chain environments become more complex, creating more inter-dependencies between business units and suppliers and undercutting the stability of the organization. Ninety-five percent of the survey's 209 participants stated that these dependencies had increased in the last three years. In addition, 94 percent reported that changes within the supply chain structure had occurred with greater regularity during that timeframe. Another 94 percent of respondents told researchers that their organizations had more frequently released new products, further complicating warehouse and shipping operations.
When the supply chain becomes more complex because of the addition of a new component or inventory item, operators need to have tools ready at their disposal to integrate these components with legacy systems as smoothly as possible. A mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) allows employees at every level to view information regarding inventory and shipping across the entire supply chain. These scalable solutions can facilitate the addition of new business units and help administrators monitor interactions between warehouses and departments. Furthermore MEAPs can be leveraged by employees at the floor level, providing them with the tools needed to quickly identify and sort new and existing inventory. This way, manufacturers can seamlessly introduce new products and components without worrying about disrupting the supply chain.