Digitalization is helping procurement specialists mitigate supply chain disruption


The global electronics supply chain has suffered significant disruption recently due to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S.-China trade war. Earlier this year, temporary production shutdowns and travel restrictions interrupted the flow of parts to electronics manufacturers. More recently, rising international tensions have made small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) long-term access to mission-critical materials uncertain.

However, purchasing managers can mitigate the impact of supply chain disruption by embracing digitalization. For example, BOM management tools specifically designed for procurement specialists can make electronic component acquisition faster and easier.

Digitalization Boosts Supply Chain Visibility

One of the biggest challenges presented by supply chain disruption is decreased visibility. Production facilities often close to protect staffers, and crucial shipments get delayed. Visibility is even worse for procurement specialists who rely on older methods like phone calls and email to track orders.

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As a result, SMEs have to suspend their production operations until they receive new supplies.

However, purchasing managers who utilize digital tools can quickly and effectively respond to supply chain disruption. Buyers can use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to exchange data with vendors and customers and gather crucial market intelligence. Procurement specialists can also search for electronic components and make quick purchases using BOM tools.

The Transformational Impact of BOM Management Tools

Traditionally, the process of securing large quantities of electronic components is time-consuming and tedious. After creating a Bill of Materials, purchasing managers have to draft several requests for quotations (RFQs), review part availability and pricing, contact individual vendors, and finally, place an order.

However, BOM tools can greatly expedite and simplify the sourcing process. Procurement specialists can use them to upload a Bill of Materials spreadsheets directly to an online sales portal. Because order forms are handled digitally, purchasing managers can receive offers for thousands of line items at once.

In response, users can browse millions of real-time listings from a plethora of fully traceable suppliers. Professional buyers can then transact on quotes that meet their specific needs. That means procurement specialists can place large orders with one click instead of after multiple rounds of phone tag.

Depending on the provider, BOM tools also let procurement specialists schedule their deliveries months ahead of time. Accordingly, buyers can ensure manufacturing sites receive new electronic components in tandem with their production schedules.

Some services allow SMEs to reschedule shipments if needed, which can be a lifesaver following the outbreak of a global crisis.

Electronic components e-commerce marketplaces with BOM tool support can be even more useful to purchasing managers. If one of a manufacturer’s suppliers becomes unavailable due to region-specific issues, critical projects can be delayed or canceled.

But thanks to the digitalization of the sourcing process, purchasers can quickly order components from vendors based all over the world.

Under current conditions, purchasing managers have to deal with a range of new risk factors and complications. Even the most skilled and experienced buyers cannot control weather patterns, pandemics, or affect international relations. But they can use technology to make their work more efficient and their lives much easier.


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