Supply chain collaboration is in vogue. Customers have figured out that if suppliers have access to more information on what they need and what is important to them that they’ll typically do a better job of meeting those needs. Suppliers have figured out that the more they understand customers, the more likely they’ll be able to delight them while minimizing spending. And this type of thinking carries over to your suppliers’ suppliers and customers’ customers and all supply chain parties in-between such as transportation and logistics partners, trusted advisers and more.
So, what are some of the ways supply chain partners collaborate?
- Sharing of customer preferences – the more your supply chain understands about the end customer (whether a consumer, patient, manufacturer etc.), the better served the customer will be.
- Sharing of forecasts – the better your supply chain understands your likely production schedule/ usage or sales forecast, the better your supply chain can ensure you have what you need when you need it at the lowest cost.
- Sharing of inventory – key to VMI is the sharing of inventory information. The best way to maximize performance of the supply chain is to provide access to inventory information in combination with trust. For example, if your supplier can save $1000 by temporarily reducing your inventory slightly until an already-scheduled truck is available to deliver the next day and you will not run out for 5 days, why not save $1000?
- Sharing of resources – vendor managed inventory experts can help set up these types of programs with minimal disruption and maximum results. Not every supply chain partner will have the same type of resources. Why not share to better the entire supply chain? For example, one of our clients had a technical guru, another had a spreadsheet guru and another had a VMI guru. If they had access to all three for the implementation of VMI, it would be a win-win-win.