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Time for Optimization?

Time for supply chain optimization, man playing whack a mole

When ‘Whack-a-mole’ loses its effectiveness, optimization might be your next logical step.

When manufacturers experience disruptions in the supply chain, whether it is caused by late deliveries, long lead times or poor quality, the tendency may be to look for the link in the supply chain that is causing the problem.  Once the supplier is singled out, we seek to improve it. In the absence of an adequate improvement plan, we even may look for a new supplier. This is Supplier Development.

Supplier Development has been the traditional method used to improve supply chain performance.  The supplier causing the most problems, whether real or perceived, is the recipient of our ‘improvement’ efforts.  The idea being, that if we can just get this single supplier to perform, all our supply chain problems will be solved.  Simple, right?

But, if this method isn’t yielding the results you desire, it may be time to consider incorporating concepts to optimize your entire supply chain.


MEP has developed roadmap to supply chain optimization that employs a comprehensive systematic approach that raises the tide for all suppliers. Whether you are a small manufacturer aiming to improve your status in the supply chain or a large OEM seeking increased visibility, MEP Supply Chain Optimization has the tools and strategies that support your objectives.

More often than not, once the supplier we help is brought up to the desired performance level, we discover that the flow of product hangs up at yet another node in the supply channel.  We then proceed through the supply chain in “Whack-A Mole” fashion ‘improving’ each new supplier that emerges as ‘the problem.’

So, how is optimization different?

As you review your company’s strategies, assess the benefits of a more comprehensive approach:


Optimization occurs when these items are actively managed:

  • Alignment – The supply chain strategy needs to actively align and support the corporate goals of future growth, innovation and sustainability.
  • Value – The supply chain strategy should identify suppliers who will assist us in achieving our future goals through collaboration and providing a means of growing our mutual businesses through sharing of ideas, capabilities and capacity.
  • Managing Risk – A well thought out Risk Management Plan is necessary to prevent supply chain interruptions and unexpected events that would render our product uncompetitive, unavailable, or unattractive to the marketplace.
  • Comprehensive View – The performance of the entire supply chain must be examined in order to identify current and potential future constraints. If we only look at suppliers who represent current bottlenecks we will fail to recognize potential future constraints.
  • Metrics – We can’t improve what we don’t measure. If we don’t measure the “right things” the problems will persist.

The MEP Supply Chain Optimization program provides support for every step of your supply chain optimization journey.

Connect with us to begin your journey or contact Mark Schmit, MEP National Accounts Manager at

Find your local MEP


Photo Caption/Credit: ‘Whack-a-mole’ is an ineffective approach in addressing individual supplier problems. Photo by Flick user TPapi.

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"MEP has put together an intelligent program that was well thought out and challenging for supply chain management team. They challenged our supply chain approach and current paradigm – forcing us to take a fresh look at what we do and how we do it. We are using the supply chain strategy tools that they provided as “take-aways” to change how we do things."


-Bruce Broxterman, President, Richards Industries

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