Mhlnews 4137 Wearable Tech 1

Sleigh Bells and Supply Chains: Lack of Visibility During the Holidays

Nov. 19, 2015
38% of supply chain executives said  they lack proper visibility and communication with their vendors.

When asked what the biggest problem they face during the holiday season, 38% of supply chain executives said  they lack proper visibility and communication with their vendors.

Fourteen percent say they often overestimate how popular an item will be and end up with too much and an equal number say they underestimate how popular an item will be a run out, according to a survey just released by Riverwood Solutions.

Ten percent admit that they don’t prep for the holiday rush early enough, and 10% say they fail to process orders quickly enough.

When asked about the demand of specific products, more than half of supply chain executives (52%) believe that fitness trackers will be the most popular wearable gift item this holiday season. Another 38% are betting on the Apple watch and 10% think the most gifted wearable this holiday season will be other smart watches.

With regard to this wearable technology, a majority of those surveyed say that the  time and expense of getting from prototype to market is the most challenging aspect of bringing wearable technology to market.

Other challenges in the wearable technology market include:

  •        19% say the challenge lies in making the technology work
  •        19% say sourcing custom parts is the challenge
  •        10% say raising capital is the challenge

Nearly 1 in 4 executives also pointed to prototypes when asked what the biggest surprise was in getting a product to the market: 24% said they had no idea how time consuming it would be to get from prototype to product and 19% said they underestimated how expensive getting from prototype to product would be.

Other surprises included:

  •        Vendors promising what they can’t deliver (19%)
  •        I didn’t realize how many vendors I’d need to work with (10%)
  •        I had to travel to my vendor many more times than I expected (10%)

Lost in Translation

Looking at other conclusions from the report 48% of supply chain executives agree that the most difficult part of dealing with overseas suppliers is understanding their business culture.

  •        Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) cite difficulty validating capabilities of overseas suppliers
  •        14% say the difficulty lies in agreeing on terms and contract negotiations
  •        10% say the difficulty is working in different time zones

In terms of supply chain risk, one-third of executives say the risk lies in single-source components. 29% have difficulty accurately predicting the volumes they need and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) say sometimes lead times are too long.

Ten percent say their technology is difficult to produce at high yields and another 10% say their vendor is too far away, and that puts their supply chain at risk.

Quality, not Quantity

Sixty-two percent of the executives polled agree that the biggest concern when selecting a vendor is whether or not the vendor will be able to provide the quality needed.

Additional concerns include:

  •        Whether or not the chosen vendor will take the business seriously (19%)
  •        Whether or not the vendor is the right size (10%)
  •        Whether or not the vendor will help with product technology (10%)