By enabling companies to focus on their core competencies
In the past Over the years, we’ve spoken to hundreds of hardware startups, and there’s one phrase that comes up in nearly every interview. It’s a “supply chain”.
Of course, they’ve always been important to those shipping physical products, but the pandemic and resulting disruptions in international logistics have left the pain of getting parts to factories, products from factories to warehouses, and to stores and customers. further arose. Current.
While some of the founders TechCrunch spoke to at CES in Las Vegas this year seemed optimistic, saying some of the supply chain crisis was on its way to resolution, others , laughed at the suggestion that all this was behind us… decided to find out what the status was.
We spoke with supply chain expert Fictiv to find out if the light at the end of the tunnel is sunlight or the headlights of an oncoming train. If anyone knows what’s going on, it’s Fictiv CEO Dave Evans. He has been running the manufacturing platform for over 10 years of his life. Prior to that, he was part of the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Group and Ford’s Chief Hardware Engineer. He spoke with Evans about the current state and near future of hardware manufacturing through the lens of a startup.
“The main problem with early stage startups is that it’s really hard to get someone to care. You might care about your product, but you’re too small to care about anyone else.” Suppliers ask if you have volume, otherwise why would they work with you?” I pointed out that there is. He pointed out that it has to be sized appropriately for the supplier. They don’t want to trade with you if you are too small. But too big is also a problem.
“When I was at Ford, we had a lot of great suppliers, but they were only making $10 million a year.
I asked Evans if the supply chain crisis was finally in the rearview mirror. When he finished laughing, he had a very simple answer: no.
“Done? Quite frankly no. I think we’ve moved from a conversation about “if” to a conversation about “when.” I don’t think we’ve peaked by any means,” he said, adding that while the pandemic has hit hard, supply chain resilience itself has been debated among his peers for a very long time. “We can go back to 2019 and talk about the trade war. We can go to 2020 and talk about the pandemic, the Suez Canal. We can talk about shipping delays in Europe and massive global conflicts.” We can talk about the recession and all these things disrupting global trade and supply chains.”
But the big shift that happened during the pandemic is that supply chain disruptions have started to appear in the lives of non-supply chain professionals. The average consumer suddenly couldn’t buy the kind of ketchup they wanted, the new car they were looking forward to was delayed, or they couldn’t find the right things at the hardware store to renovate their home. .
For businesses, the disruption was largely invisible before the pandemic and dealt with by chief supply chain officers. It went from a functional, practical issue affecting one part of the business to an administrative issue suddenly caring for the whole team. Suddenly, everyone had to know why there were shipping delays, gaping holes in financial statements, and questions from the board.
“I think this is forcing companies to rethink and modernize their supply chain strategies. I’m here. “Before Amazon, there wasn’t a lot of pressure to ship in two days, but now the supply chain is a critical business function for anyone shipping physical goods. , we are probably at or nearing the peak of the demand for change.”
See how hardware startups think about product and supply chain de-risking and how they think about resilience.