How to verify the actual capacity of suppliers

Hello everyone,

I work as an SQE (jr) in the automotive industry. Management is looking to have a review across supplier for their available capacity (in percentage) in case of increasing or introducing new part numbers.

I have worked with Run@Rate spreadhseets to verify suppliers can meet our demand for current part numbers being delivered, but I don't think this study is the one indicated for the information I've been asked to deliver.

This is why I'm looking for an Excel form or your suggestions on how to verify the actual capacity of the suppliers. They can come to me with a percentage but I want to investigate and evaluate by myself their available capacity.

Thank you! :)

Wes Bucey

One of the questions Primes in most industries fail to consider is the difference between "production capacity" and the amount of capacity (as a percentage of "production capacity") any given supplier is WILLING to allocate to any single customer. (Smart suppliers do NOT put all their eggs in one basket lest they put themselves in a position to be bullied by an aggressive customer or devastated by an unexpected disaster befalling a major customer.)

All in all, total transparency between customer and supplier on ACTUAL needs and plans for ramping up makes better economic sense in the long run. Working with an aware and trusted supplier can be to the advantage of both parties. Knowing plans and aspirations of some of our customers, we were able to suggest alternate manufacturing methods which ultimately resulted in MUCH LOWER unit costs rather than just ramping up current methods or allocating more machine time on one kind of machine.

With assurances of increased sales, we were willing and able to finance new and different equipment capable of increased efficiency (defined as lower unit costs) as well as increased capacity to meet a customer's needs, allowing us to turn previously used equipment for shorter runs for other, new customers, maintaining our percentage balance of customers.

Smart suppliers do not want to run a zero sum game; they want and need to expand capacity and sales, not just shuffle sales from one customer to another.


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Keep in mind that whatever information that you obtain will be obsolete as soon as you get it. Let's say you learn that a certain supplier is at 80% capacity. As soon as you obtain this information, this supplier lands a new account that takes them to 90% capacity. I doubt that they will contact you and update this information.