Why Strategic supplier management can help companies succeed
It takes accurate information to know what your company needs to do next. Knowing the truth about your suppliers' performance and ranking them properly has several advantages, not least because it gives you the grounds to make useful changes.
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.
Cultural unity
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."
The source spoke to the company's procurement director, Amena Smith, about the rationale behind the event and what it's focus on corporate responsibility says about Green Mountain as a whole. She specifically referred to the volunteer time the company factors into employee hours, painting it as an essential offering that defines it.
"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.
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