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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Inventory Management Years ago, when HDMI was a brand-new audio-visual connector type, and 1080p was the cutting edge of screen resolution, I worked at a company, designing and manufacturing large video display walls and digital signage. Some of the products were based on LCD flat panels, but many were built on some highly sophisticated rear-projection technology. By this time in my career, I'd been around a fair bit, but mostly in software. Thus, when we were informed that a factory in Asia that manufactured projector lamp bulbs had been destroyed in a fire, I was interested but not impressed—until it was pointed out that there were only two factories on the planet making these lamps, and one of them was now a smol- dering pile of rubble. Coming from mostly a software background, this was my first real exposure to supply chain bottlenecks and interruptions. Procurement, engineering, and customer service all dove into developing a response plan to ensure we had the kind of supply we needed to sup- port our manufacturing and customer mainte- nance contracts. Next in priority were spares and parts sales. Ultimately, the disruption was minimal, as inventories were well-stocked all along the chain. To my knowledge, we never experienced any issues in delivering lamps for our customers. That doesn't mean, however, that this was no big deal. During the time that there was just one bulb factory on the planet, global supply was very much at risk; thank- fully, the supply chain maintained a steady demand in the face of it all. Jump to current events in 2020, and we've all learned about supply chain—more than we care to, in some cases. We've seen the supply chain fall apart due to demand and hoarding, and we've seen shutdown-related shortages rip- ple down like a row of falling dominoes, as well as failures from the supply side and the demand side. This can have a financial impact. While putting together this issue, I turned to IBM's Quentin Samelson for some insights (I also interviewed his colleagues Michelle Lam and

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