New Product Introduction projects (NPI), got to love them right? If you’ve worked in or around Supply Chain then chances are you will (or have) come across the introduction of new products and witnessed first hand the effect it can have on the supply chain.

Such projects are usually complex and fraught. However, there are lessons that can be learned and fed back into the project management system to improve things next time.

Here is our list of top 10 failures within NPI. Hopefully, you’ll both get a chuckle and a few lessons learned from our list.

1/ Manufacturing issues are not fed back to Engineering team to improve/fix design definition

2/ Pricing pressure. Supplier under-estimates what products will actually cost and tries to re-negotiate mid-project.

3/ Schedule fails to account for complexity, supplier fails and gets the blame.

4/ The right metrics to measure performance aren’t used! (or worse still none at all)

5/ NPI is seen as execution only and not managed as a cross-functional project.

6/ Supplier is new and onboarding hasn’t been executed correctly and supplier is unable to interface correctly with the purchasing organization and unaware of all its obligations.

7/ Specialist tooling required for product launch is found inadequate during production

8/ Lead time estimates prove incorrect

9/ Project team lack experience of NPI

10/ Make/Buy planning, in hindsight, proves incorrect

So, that’s our top 10 list. Have you worked NPI? Any lessons you want to share, we’d love to hear them, use our comments section below to spill the beans!

Most of us in Supply Chain will at some point have to carry out a supplier business review but what separates the great business reviews from the bloodbaths (you know those ones where you and the supplier vow never to work together again!!)?

Supplier Business reviews are typically a routine and systematic process that business undertake with their supplier covering all salient elements of both the supplier relationship and their performance. These happen periodically (often monthly or quarterly).

These meetings are part of Supply Chain 101 and while it might seem obvious what to do it’s important to consider what you are trying to achieve with these reviews. While there is no single generic format for these meetings there is of course some tried and tested best practice.

The key thing to remember is that these sessions are not by their intent set out to be adversarial, they are not there to beat each other up, no matter how much you may feel like it, these sessions key purpose is to share information and improve both the relationship and performance.

Coming up with a suitable agenda can sometimes be tricky. You may not treat all of your suppliers the same – you might choose to treat key suppliers (or those with the most critical issues differently from smaller ones). There can be a multitude of factors that influence

• Periodicity of review
• Attendance at reviews
• Depth of reviews
• Agenda

Ultimately you need to figure out what is appropriate and what works best for you and your supplier. Ensure you have an objective for the review that you can both attain and review. For example – your principle objective might be to share performance data and establish improvement targets. The meeting should serve a purpose and NOT just be a chit-chat.

Perhaps the most crucial thing, more than anything is to get your agenda right. Agenda’s help meetings hugely, they act as a prompt for the meeting lead and provide a route to navigate through the various issues/objectives. It’s never surprises me how a tweak in the running order can change an outcome and change the dynamic of your review. So if your looking to spruce up your supplier reviews with a fresh agenda then here’s our list of must haves that make a supplier development review rock.

1/ Performance review / Look at the metrics – you have targets right? How are you doing against them?
2/ Forecast review – what’s the forecast looking like, what business do you have coming up? How does that stack up against capacity?
3/ Review of existing orderbook
4/ Benchmarking – what’s happening in this supplier’s sector? How are they performing, how’s their product offering, what do you want from them?
5/ Compliance – how is the supplier working with your processes, everything running smoothly? Any supplier onboarding issues that need addressing?
6/ Innovation/Change – what can be done differently to improve things
7/ Actions review – you captured actions at the last meeting right?
8/ Relationship review – how does your supplier see things? Same as you?

So there our input for a rocking agenda – have your own thoughts? Something to contribute? Fire is up on the comments section below.

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