VMI – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

I’m sitting in the Shanghai PuDong airport going over trip notes and it hits me like a ton of bricks… even on the other side of the world we, OK customers, can take what should be a good idea and make it way too complicated, costly and exhausting.
A major multi-national company wants to utilize a simple VMI program (Vendor vmi-thManaged Inventory) for a few very good reasons, they need parts, need to minimize inventory dollars, and want to minimize administration. Makes sense, that’s why VMI programs exist. But here’s the deal, let’s not reinvent the o-ring.
VMI programs have been around for several years. Primarily designed to manage low cost “class C” items without all those purchase orders, expedites, missed lines, out-of-stocks, wrong parts… Some vendors come in and do “bin fill”, on site to review stock levels, replenish, record and invoice. Seems simple too and it is. It can work.
Others set up KanBan programs, multi-bin systems that when a bin or box is used it triggers an order. Yet others replace product based on production. I built 250 robotic widgets today, so I must have used 250 gaskets, seals, fasteners, labels… they need to be replaced.
You get the idea. There are a lot of ways to attack the issue. The reality is not one size fits all. There are a lot of really cool systems and most work really well in MRO and parts departments. But when it comes to OEM production, well it gets a little more complicated. Lights, scanners, WiFi and pixie dust can do good things but how you do your business and the 4 competitors down the street all do things very different.
That’s where we, ESP International, comes in. No need to add cost and change systems any more than necessary. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You are doing this to REDUCE cost. Reduce hassle. Reduce shortages. Let’s talk about what makes sense for you. VMI works when done right. We’ve had systems in place for many years and they keep on ticking. Customers are loving them. Good luck getting any of them to go back to the old way. We know small parts. We know VMI. In fact, we make small parts a big part of your bottom line.


Don Grawe is Director of Seal Markets for ESP International. He has over 20 years of experience in the seal industry serving the OEM industrial marketplace. You can learn more about ESP International at http://www.espint.com

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