by Kevin Jones, CEO/Founder, Ectobox  

With tariff issues, new trade deals, Brexit, and now COVID-19, you might be thinking this is the time to mitigate risk by reshoring your supply chain. The first step in the process is to initiate an evaluation of your supply chain and the risks contained therein. If you have already analyzed your current state and made the decision to re-shore critical elements of your supply chain, this blog will help. It will explain a few of the ways IIoT can help drive a successful supply chain reshoring effort. The idea is to use IIoT to mitigate many of the common risks both at your supplier and within your own organization.

You can help your suppliers be more efficient by communicating with them more effectively and streamlining transactions. By interacting more efficiently with your suppliers you will allow them to serve your needs better. Below are a few examples of how IIoT can enable this:

Vendor Managed Inventory

IIoT can help to reduce transaction costs by accessing real-time production and quality data and allowing for automated adjustments to inventory that can drive re-ordering or enable vendor managed inventory. You may also want to allow access to forecasting to key suppliers to allow them to plan ahead. In both cases, you can reduce transaction cost and overhead by providing your supply chain access to both current and forecasted demand, thus better allowing them to fulfill that demand.

On-boarding New Vendors

When onboarding new vendors, you will want to gather critical information regarding their QMS, capacity, OTD data, and other metrics to support the evaluation process. Often your process for approving new vendors will be standardized, allowing automation. Rather than manually gathering data, create a portal to allow vendors to submit information through a portal. This will force vendors to provide data in your desired format, allowing for easier analysis and quicker decision making.

Managing Vendors

With IIoT you will also be able to automate the collection and reporting of supplier scorecard information, enabling earlier identification of issues and faster communications to suppliers in the event a problem arises – or even to switch suppliers as necessary. With IIoT you will be able to push real-time quality data from the shop floor to vendors and immediately communicate issues. This will allow your vendors to take immediate corrective action. In addition, you will use quality data gathered through your IIoT system to generate scorecards and communicate to vendors how they are doing in near real-time.


IIoT can speed critical communications between you and your critical suppliers and reduce transaction costs. By enabling VMI and providing a portal to allow suppliers to submit critical information during both the on-boarding and monitoring and control phases, you will reduce stock outs, resolve critical quality issues more quickly, improve lead times, and identify problems with vendors earlier. IIoT will increase the productivity of both you and your suppliers’ people, plant, and equipment and provide significant mitigation of the risks associated with reshoring.


Side Note: Kevin Jones of Ectobox will be featured in an upcoming NWIRC Webinar to further explore how IIOT can help companies reshore production. Click here for more details. 


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