The Somerset Furniture Company experiences significant problems with organizing the transportation of the prepared furniture from China to the United States in order to provide customers with the purchased pieces without any delays (Russell & Taylor, 2013). It is important to note that if the company completes all the required activities from placing the order to the stage of its delivery to the customer, the minimum lead time will be about 156 days or more than 22 weeks. This result is observed while taking into account that the time necessary for transporting orders from the plants to the Chinese ports can take several weeks and while assuming that this time can be equal to three weeks or 21 days. The best possible scenario is when this time is only one day; then, the minimum lead time is 19 weeks or about 135 days. The timeline for the minimum lead time is presented in Figure 1 with the help of the Gantt chart.
The worst scenario representing the highest lead time is provided in Figure 2. The process will take about 246 days or more than 35 weeks while assuming that the transportation of prepared orders to the Chinese ports takes 21 days.
In order to reduce costs and time associated with the transportation of the raw materials and furniture in China, it is important to pay more attention to such transportation mode as railways that are developed in this country and can be actively used for the cheap and quick transportation of raw materials (Russell & Taylor, 2013). In order to transport the prepared products to the United States, it is almost impossible to use the air because of high costs of such services, and the water transport remains to be the only available mode for Somerset Furniture Company (Krajewski, Malhotra, & Ritzman, 2015). However, in the United States, it is possible to use the air transport, railways, and trucks for carrying the furniture and its elements. The potential problems in this case are only the damages caused by using railways that can be addressed while referring to this mode only for transporting the furniture parts.
In addition to improving Somerset Furniture Company’s Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain Management systems, the company can use the services and assistance of the trade specialists in China who can control the availability of containers, tracks, the security checks, and other activities performed in China without the direct control of Somerset Furniture Company. As a result, it will be possible to provide online reports to the U.S. offices on the situation at each stage of processing in China immediately, and logistics companies will be able to propose alternative variants of transportation for Somerset Furniture Company in order to avoid possible delays (Krajewski et al., 2015). The control over the logistics provided by the Somerset Furniture Company managers and international trade specialists will allow addressing all possible issues quickly.
The other approach to reduce the lead time is the greater focus on postponement that is necessary in order to guarantee that the furniture components are transported to the United States as quick as possible, and all final stages in the production processes are completed in this country to control the quality and avoid delays in the delivery.
Krajewski, L. J., Malhotra, M. K., & Ritzman, L. P. (2015). Operations management: Processes and supply chains. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.
Russell, R., & Taylor, B. (2013). Operations and supply chain management. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.