Addressing Broadband Deployment Challenges Series

Supply Chain Management Solutions for Procurement and Purchasing

Welcome to the first in a series of articles discussing a variety of broadband deployment challenges. Each month, Wesco will discuss different challenges that providers are facing and how we can help navigate complex projects of this scope. This month we are discussing procurement and purchasing solutions. Check back each month for additional topics of interest.

Along with the demands of building a new fiber network, broadband providers face many obstacles and complexities that can add time and costs to the overall project, delaying their ability to connect a community. Working with a strategic supply chain partner to optimize procurement and purchasing can ensure fiber network projects are completed on time and on budget.

Fiber Frenzy and the Supply Chain

Over the last few years, supply chain disruptions have become a major topic, no matter your industry. These disruptions cost companies an average of $82 million each in losses, according to a recent survey by Interos.1

With the massive influx of funding for broadband deployment, there is an unprecedented demand for a broad range of materials used in deploying broadband infrastructure.

For organizations deploying fiber networks, it is imperative to have an overall supply chain strategy to ensure the availability of materials so that your fiber project continues to move forward.

The Road Ahead

Strategic planning is key to avoiding disruptions, mitigating risks, and efficiently deploying fiber networks. With the size and complexity of many of these fiber deployment projects, most companies need additional expert support to handle the procurement and purchasing of the essentials needed for successful fiber network construction. Some organizations may prefer to turn this process over to supply chain professionals who can help streamline procurement and sourcing strategies.

Wesco Supply Chain Forklift Operator

Supply Chain Management Specialists – How Can They Help My Organization?

Every company has unique priorities and challenges for their fiber project based on cost constraints, deadlines, budget, and mitigating overall risks.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for these types of projects. By partnering with an outside supply chain management partner with experience in fiber builds, an organization can harness the power and expertise they bring to the table.

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Working with a Supply Chain Management Partner for your Procurement/Purchasing Needs

Typically, the first step is to have a supply chain management expert evaluate an organization’s procurement and purchasing needs and goals specific to their fiber deployment project. This assessment is used to create a customized plan that includes recommendations to help an organization meet their objectives. This plan delivers a holistic approach for enhanced operational efficiencies, identifies opportunities, captures significant savings, and delivers bottom-line results.

Demand Planning

Having the right product at the right place and time is more complex than it sounds. Potential disruptions to your supply chain can result in delays to your project.

Having an experienced supply chain management partner who brings strong analytical capabilities and processes to your project can help improve forecasting accuracy and keep your project on time and on budget.

Demand forecasting for your project materials can help you reduce overall spend and achieve inventory predictability, resulting in cost savings along the way. Utilizing a company with end-to-end supply chain visibility and the ability to sense and respond to market changes quickly allows you to make any adjustments needed to maintain optimal inventory levels and lead times.

A supply chain management partner typically uses state-of-the-art tools for inventory and replenishment forecasting and planning. This gives you an operational advantage and increased flexibility to scale supply up or down to meet demand.

Supplier Relations

In today’s global marketplace, having a strategic supply chain management partner with strong industry relationships can help any organization become more efficient, cost-effective, and productive. They can provide forecasting, reporting, and procurement processes, provide valuable input into new sourcing opportunities and performance management, and can improve quality, cost, delivery, and agility.

Another advantage to working with a strategic supply chain management partner is having their expertise in evaluating and consolidating suppliers. This streamlines your procurement and purchasing process and reduces risk across your entire supplier network. By reducing your number of suppliers, you can increase your purchasing power, improve efficiency, and reduce overall costs.

Warehouse worker fulfilling broadband order.

Product Selection

With the proliferation of new technology being used in fiber deployments, having supply chain management experts who are knowledgeable in these emerging technologies can help in product selection and evaluation.

With many products experiencing long lead times or being discontinued, having someone with expertise in alternate product selection can help with a faster purchasing process and avoid potential project delays.

Several current funding programs have specific guidelines for product selection or may fall under the Build America, Buy American Act (BABA) mandate. A supply chain management partner can help source products that meet the needs of specific criteria requirements.

Submitting and managing an RFQ or RFP for your fiber project can be demanding and time consuming. Having an industry-leading supply chain management partner who can handle this process and provide expert advice and recommendations can improve overall performance and make the sourcing process more efficient.

How Does ERP Improve Supply Chain Efficiency?

Having a complete view of overall supply chain performance is essential in large, complex fiber deployment projects. A supply chain management partner can integrate data with your current ERP system so that you have real-time, accurate information to optimize inventory and spend. This means stakeholders can make better-informed decisions to improve efficiency and accelerate responsiveness.

Constant Monitoring and Collaboration

With any project, having a collaborative partnership can help maximize opportunities and implement long-lasting solutions. By monitoring and reviewing the supply chain process regularly, a supply chain management partner can identify areas for improvement and allow you to make changes to increase efficiency. Increasing supply chain agility can optimize overall operations and improve resilience.

Engineered for Success

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing your fiber deployment. It’s all about having an expert team within reach. Having a world-class partner equally committed to getting the job done means you can hand off all or a portion of the supply chain management for your fiber deployment and keep your project on target and successful.

Donna Yates Author


Donna Yates
Donna Yates is an experienced freelance writer with over 25 years of experience generating marketing strategies, programs, and collateral specifically focused on the Utility, Broadband, Global Service Providers, and Wireless markets.

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Are you ready to future-proof your supply chain? Wesco has the tools to get you there. From customized solutions for a portion of your fiber deployment to full project management, we have a proven track record of successful fiber builds.

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