Supply Chain Management shouldn’t be a department that gets a product out the door—it should be an integrated whole that allows all departments to work together to produce the right product for the customer, right when it’s needed.
The new role of suppliers
Traditionally, the value of a supplier was measured in terms of cost reduction. Of course, cost will always be a factor, but today many firms are looking to partner with suppliers to develop products that can help differentiate both firms in the marketplace. That’s why it makes sense to get suppliers involved in the early phases of the product design. The supplier can bring their specialized expertise and the customer will know that the necessary inventory will be ready when needed.
Vet your supplier carefully
A valued supplier will have sophisticated systems in place to monitor inventory on a daily basis, and adjust for seasonal variations. Robust domestic inventory levels ensure that a line never has to go down for lack of a part. But systems are just part of a successful supply chain management department—customers need real people that are only a call away. A commitment to problem-solving, staff engineers who can respond quickly, creative order fulfillment and shipping options all add up to a valued partner that customers know they can trust.
The best suppliers work closely with customers to develop unique product and shipping programs that enhance the customer’s bottom line. From light assembly to specialized labeling, a supplier should be ready and able take a delivery timeline to hours from days or weeks.