Strategic Supplier Relationship Management – Do’s and Don’ts

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Shortly after I joined the Commodity/Category Management Procurement organization I was invited to attend the annual Strategic Supplier Awards event. It was all about Strategic Supplier Relationship management.

There were Executives from dozens of Suppliers in attendance. The event concluded with award recognition given to Suppliers based on their scoring and standing as being of Strategic value to the company.

Prior to joining the Procurement team I had neither understood nor appreciated the importance of Supplier Relationship management. But having seen how motivated and inspired these Suppliers were I started to understand.

But in the weeks, months and years to come I also became much more informed about the good and bad aspects of Supplier Relationship Management.

From company to company I came to develop a list of Strategic Supplier Relationship Management “Do’s” and “Don’ts”.

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What is Deep Learning? And What Does it Mean for Supply Chain?

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When I start writing text messages or emails these days I automatically receive prompts for the next words that I may want to use, or even phrases to complete my sentence, as I’m typing.

The word and phrase suggestions are ones that are consistent with the type of language I would use. And the name suggestions are unique to people I know and communicate with regularly.

My Google mini recognizes family voices instantaneously and responds not only to our questions but adds custom comments directed at each of us individually.

It’s clear to me that my computer and smart phone and Google mini are learning what language I typically use. With increasing accuracy they can predict what I might want to write next based on words I am typing. And the voice activated devices are increasingly interactive.

How does this Machine Learning, or Deep Learning, actually work? And how will it shape Supply Chain now and in the future?

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Naming a Product or Company? It’s Not That Easy!

The organization was spinning off from the parent company within a year to become its own corporation. A lot of work had to be done to in order to get ready to be an independent, publicly traded company, including naming.

The CEO called me into his office and said, “I’d like you to lead the effort to name the company.”

Wow! This was certainly an honour. But how do you name a company and where do you start?

While it may seem easy to come up with a company, or product, name I was about to find out how incredibly difficult and complicated this process can be.

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The Natural Rubber Supply Chain! Will it Bounce Back?

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The natural, and synthetic, rubber Supply Chain is another casualty of the Coronavirus pandemic. Our recent purchase of a new vehicle made us aware not only of the computer chip shortages impacting the new automobile sales market, but also the rubber market shortages threatening similar disruptions.

Rubber is used for tires, gloves, gaskets, clothing, adhesives, numerous industrial applications, hoses, water based applications (eg. diving equipment, flotation devices), and much more. It is an integral and indispensable part of our personal and professional lives.

Such pervasive usage and demand, combined with the potential for supply impacts, makes it important for us all to understand the natural and synthetic rubber Supply Chain.

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Building Blocks of Supply Chain Strategy!

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A supply chain is made up of an interconnected network of suppliers that all function together to deliver products or services to customers efficiently. For a supply chain to run smoothly it needs to be well managed under the right strategy for your business objectives.

Below are three building blocks of a well-managed supply chain strategy to help you boost efficiency and lower costs. 

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Supply Chain’s Moment of Truth Poll Results!

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Time will prove that the global Coronavirus pandemic has marked a major inflection point across the entire history of Supply Chain Management. Largely unknown and not understood before the pandemic, Supply Chain’s visibility and importance has seen an unprecedented level of exposure during the pandemic.

Everyone now understands that when Supply Chains fail, much of what enables our personal and professional lives also stops. The fragility of Supply Chains experienced during the pandemic demands improvements in the robustness and resilience of this core function.

It has created a Moment of Truth for Supply Chain. Will companies revert back to their old ways of doing things after the pandemic or will they make the improvements needed for the future?

We conducted our Supply Chain’s Moment of Truth Poll to find out.

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Post-Pandemic Impermanence Actions!

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Post-pandemic article and permission to publish here provided by Joe Carson, CEO of Spend Strategies, LLC.

Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic the talk of a settled “new normal” gives us hope for stability and a return to what was before. But for whatever sense of past normalcy we aspire to this experience equally conjures up our sense of impermanence – or that our lives are constantly in a state of flux to which we must sense and adapt.

For supply chain professionals, supply chains and our underlying assumptions will certainly need to adapt. In many critical supply areas, such as biopharma, the now famous PPE, and high technology medical devices, not just calls, but screams for re-examining supply lines and explicitly, our reliance on China.

This reliance began decades before for reasons that made sense then, but those assumptions and rationale have come into question now. The topic is high on the agenda of supply chain professionals as they plot the course forward.

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The Importance of a Strong Supply Chain and Logistics Strategy!

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A solid supply chain and logistics strategy is essential for large companies.

A global chemical manufacturer recently had to replace ships that transported bulk materials to ports. These materials were then transferred to barges and rail cars for delivery, and finally to terminals where they were packaged into shipping containers for final delivery by rail. This chemical manufacturer is converting its entire distribution system to containers.

Using a logistics-oriented strategy helps companies better understand their suppliers, improve customer service, and optimize shipping.

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Our 2022 Top 10 Articles Plus One!

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It has been another exciting year for sure, with supply disruptions and issues continuing to keep Supply Chain in the headlines, impacting every aspect of our lives.

The year is also marked by the end of the global Coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions, which has caused us to add content about what the future of Supply Chain could, or really should, become. As we state, “Supply Chain’s Moment of Truth Has Arrived!

Make sure you read our 2022 Top 10 articles, along with a bonus article, which are amongst our best ever!

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The Single Point of Failure in Supply Chain – The Suez Crisis!

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In March of 2021 the world was astonished when a large cargo ship, the Ever Given, became stuck in the Suez Canal. Virtually everyone is oblivious to the movement of any single cargo ship around the world. However very quickly the colossal ramifications of this singular event became known to all.

The blockage of the Suez Canal by this one ship immediately impacted global Supply Chains. Over $9 billion per day (12% of global trade) moves through the 120 mile canal.

While the ship was freed after about a week, in the intervening time ships were debating whether to take the longer trip around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa or wait for the salvage operation. It all underscored the vulnerability of having a single point of failure in any Supply Chain.

Do you have a single point of failure in your Supply Chain?

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The Call To Action … Where It All Begins!

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“The Board is REALLY upset.  They want a plan to dramatically improve our Supply Chain inventory turnover performance and they want it now.  Will you lead this for me?”  That was a call to action.

My boss had just got out of the Board meeting and these were his words to me.  The company had historically performed very poorly in managing inventory.  And it was not only consuming a lot of cash but it was impacting our profitability with the high carrying charges and write-offs.  Also it impacted  our competitive position as customers and competitors didn’t believe we knew how to manage inventory, and Supply Chain, very well.

This was a Call To Action!

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10 Vital Supply Chain Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic!

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The Coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm. With accelerating rates of virus transmission and deaths the global response for containment has increased as well. We need to learn Supply Chain lessons from this tragedy.

Every aspect of our lives has been disrupted: our health, freedom of movement, employment, the economy, our ability to buy goods, and virtually every Supply Chain.

We started to hear about shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, foods and household goods. Now we are starting to hear about shortages of ventilators, masks, and medical equipment.

The list of shortages will only increase at this stage. Apart from the panic buying are there Supply Chain lessons that we should learn from the Coronavirus pandemic to improve the robustness of Supply Chains in the future?

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5 Things Startups Must Know Before Launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)!

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Minimum Viable Product article and permission to publish here provided by Julia Beyers.

Let’s be honest – the modern business climate could not be imagined without startups, but how many of them actually succeed? 11 out of 12 new businesses fail, and that is sad. The more important question is why some of them actually succeed.

Today we will try to answer these questions by going through the steps necessary for a startup in order to build a solid foundation for their product and avoid the game-ending errors.

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Tips to Get the Best Performance From Your Business!

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Best performance article and permission to publish here provided by Carol Trehearn.

With another year fast approaching, it is time to get planning your next step to take your business further, improve its performance and have its best profit-building year yet.

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Our 2020 Top 10 List!

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As we continue on in our 4th year here at Supply Chain Game Changer we have realized some exciting milestones.

We have exceeded 3 million views across the Website, LinkedIn and Twitter. We have had over 100 guest contributors to our site supporting our goal of sharing experiences and expertise. And we have now published over 500 articles since our inception.

Continuing in our tradition of years past we present here our Top 10 articles for the first half of 2020. As everyone knows the globe has been immersed in all things related to and impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve written several articles with respect to the pandemic and the associated impacts on the Supply Chain, some of which are reproduced here.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Here’s our list of our Top 10 articles of 2020, so far:

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