There are some benefits that come from increasing your own knowledge of your supplier base, whether you're working on low cost country sourcing/nearshoring or simply getting to know existing entities more.
One of the big corporate mottos recently has been building a strong culture, and this can extend to the way a company works with its vendors as well. This is reportedly one of the reasons why Keurig Green Mountain Inc. tries to connect with its "Top 100 Suppliers" in a special event every year, according to Supply Chain Quarterly.
"Building a strong culture can extend to the way a company works with its vendors as well."
"It's not just something that's 'on the books,' it's actively encouraged," she said. "There's talk about what our goals are going to be and, if we are not using our hours, how we can get together as a team and fulfill our community service goals."
In this example, it's easy to see how the connection with suppliers is meant to reflect Green Mountain's values, but also keep the company on good terms with its most highly valued partners. It's also crucial that the event involves a "Top 100," suggesting a ranking or at least some sort of priority given to the suppliers that matter the most to the business as a whole. This sort of model might prove useful to your own enterprise.
Keeping on good terms with your suppliers may be more than just diplomatic advice: It's also relevant for any firms on the hunt for the best opportunities in their industry. Understanding your clients and getting a close look at them means you can iron out any flaws and stick to a bigger plan of modernization.
Another crucial reason to stay close to vendors, in a somewhat related vein, is the existence of supply chain risk. When you're trying to meet important requirements, you often have to clear specific goals.
For a recently published report, 3M surveyed 237 U.S. suppliers on important topics. These have included what organizations want and are concerned about for the future. According to the report, 61 percent of respondents are concerned about "volatile commodity and supply prices" while almost the same amount of organizations (60 percent) said they are working on digital improvements/upgrades.
An important takeaway from this report is the way suppliers respond to lack of openness. The source suggested that less visibility can make suppliers less willing to participate.
Strategic sourcing represents a strong opportunity for both efficiency and better culture across a supply chain, even when there are many different points to address at once.