Keep supply chains oiled

Keep supply chains oiled

One swallow does not make a summer. And two news items do not make a trend. Yet, a couple of recent corporate incidents offer interesting lessons on the problems of managing corporate growth.

Boeing Co. said last week that its 787 dreamliner is likely to be rolled out with a delay of six months. The aviation giant blamed the delay on a parts shortage. The new plane is now likely to come out of the company’s factories in December 2008.

Earlier, Reliance Industries Ltd had written to the government asking for a three-year drilling holiday in its nine deep-sea blocks because of a shortage of drilling rigs.

The two companies face a common problem. They have been let down by their supply chain. The suppliers of widgets—be they parts of a plane or rigs to drill oil—keep most corporate engines chugging along. The recent setbacks to Boeing and Reliance show supply chains cannot be taken for granted, especially in boom times such as these.