Tag Archive: sourcing

Why Supplier Management is More Important Than You Think

June 17th, 2019

Supplier management has been a theme this week. I taught a CSCP (certified supply chain professional) class session about supplier relationship management and SRM software recently. An attendee had a great example of the impact of poor quality.  Her company was sending an entire container load of product back to Asia with defective parts.  This was bound to have negative impacts on the customer. After all, they were already delayed.  Now, they were spending another month on the water to start over again. That led us to discussions on backup suppliers.

Next, I spent quite a bit of time on webinars and calls one day talking about the critical importance of supplier lead time, reliability, safety stock, lot size and how these factors impact our ability to maximize service, profit and cash flow. And, I presented to APICS Ventura on “The Resilient Supply Chain” We had intriguing discussions on the trends of vertical integration, supplier consolidation, allocation of key materials (and how consumer products are gaining priority access with the leftovers being allocated to industrial companies), the impact of tariffs on sourcing, and several more topics.

The bottom line of each of these discussions is that proactive management of suppliers is of ever-increasing importance in today’s Amazon impacted business environment. If you don’t have what you need, when you need it, where you need it, in good quality, and within cost guidelines, you are likely to lose vs. your competition. And, this includes last minute changes! Do you consider your supplier your partner or someone to negotiate with and gain an advantage over?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
It is NOT all about cost. Of course, the hot topic on executives’ minds is how to achieve scaleable growth, so profit and cost are important topics.  Yet, smart executives realize it is quite easy to sacrifice the future by saving pennies in the present. Similar to the mistakes made several years ago when it didn’t matter whether it made cost-sense or not (ie. Boards were demanding outsourcing regardless of the financials), many Boards are demanding supplier concessions without looking at the extended supply chain impacts. Instead, stick up for looking at total cost and taking the value viewpoint! Of course, this means you’ll be focused on costs but it won’t be your sole focus.

We talked about several scenarios where you had to invest financially upfront in order to achieve longer-term success. For example, we talked about keeping a more expensive backup supplier and giving them 20% of the volume. Boards and private equity backers weren’t too happy with the extra cost yet this risk mitigation technique saved the day on more than one occasion. When the material went on allocation, the main supplier struggled or the ports/transportation infrastructure broke down, those who planned for the inevitable bump in the road had uninterrupted supply from the backup supplier and satisfied customers while the competition fell further behind. Are you thinking about your suppliers like a cost or a partner?  You’ll find more information on these types of topics on our resilient supply chain series.

 



Samsung Expanding Manufacturing in the U.S.

July 12th, 2017

Samsung announced that it is expanding manufacturing operations and its commitment to American consumers, engineers and innovators. They are putting money where their mouth is by investing $380 million with the plan to hire 1,000 workers for this new state-of-the-art facility that will manufacture appliances. This facility will take over manufacturing being done in Mexico. In this case, near-sourcing to customers in Mexico isn’t enough; they want to be even closer to customers, engineers and innovators!

manufacturing in the U.S.Manufacturing in the U.S. AND locating manufacturing to the U.S. is making sense! In Samsung’s case, there is a commitment to sourcing and collaborating closely with the customer in combination with incentives to relocate. Similarly, bicycle producer Kent International is re-shoring. In addition to the critical nature of customer proximity, offshoring costs were rising significantly (materials, labor, transportation and currency); thus, Kent decided to commit to an expansion of manufacturing in the U.S. Are you keeping an eye on your customers, costs and cash flow?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Samsung and Kent International are two examples of firms leading the way with a commitment to manufacturing and the U.S. How often are you re-evaluating your strategy and keeping a pulse on your strategy? A once-a-year review no longer suffices! Similarly, a 5-year strategic plan is a waste of energy in most cases. Does anyone know what will occur 5 years out that prohibits making strategy an ongoing priority?!

In addition, manufacturing is definitely on the rise! With that said, let’s not assume it will return fully to the “glory days” and start overreacting in the opposite direction. For example, folks outsourced because it was popular at time (sometimes with only a cursory review), whether or not it actually made sense from a total cost AND total customer experience perspective. As the U.S. and individual states become more competitive and technology and automation continues to evolve, change will occur. Don’t be caught off guard — what impacts will these changes have on your business? Are you prepared for them — or, better yet, are you in front of them so you can be proactive instead of reactive?