It takes a Supply Chain to design, engineer, make, deliver, sell, support, service and continuously improve products and services. For many organizations supply chain plays a critical role in the delivery of industry leading products and services. So a better supply chain makes for better products/services, and a better organization. The foundational elements of better supply chain are shown in the figure below.
Selecting Better Suppliers – Supplier Selection
Selecting the right suppliers for providing various components/services gets an organization majority of the way to building a better supply chain. However, there is no one-size-fits-all method to selecting better suppliers. The rigor with which supplier evaluation and selection can vary dependent on the program scope and importance to the company, component(s), and operational excellence requirements.
Helping Suppliers Get Better – Supplier Development
Supplier development is a key strategy of “Building a Better Supply Chain”. Supplier Development can be used to bring a new supplier up to the standard of performance that is needed to effectively support operational excellence targets. Supplier Development does not have to stop once the new supplier is performing at the expected level. For many organizations it makes sense to incorporate Supplier Development activities to support continuous improvement of day-to-day operations. Supplier development activities can be closely aligned with supplier performance assessment and where suppliers need help.
You can get a good idea on the importance industry leaders place on Supplier Development from the following 2 articles
- Supplier Development at Honda, Toyota and Nissan
- Building Deep Supplier Relationships – Jeff Liker and Thomas Choi – Harvard Business Review
Cooperative and Transparent Supplier Relationship
While selecting better suppliers and supplier development are the 2 key drivers of building a better supply chain, a cooperative and transparent supplier relationship is the glue that holds the edifice of “Better Supply Chain” together. A cooperative and transparent supplier relationship is built on trust, and by treating suppliers as equal partners. Key to a cooperative and transparent supplier relationship is the ability of the entire organization to be able to work closely with suppliers. A digital workflow driven Supplier Portal is a great way to support a cooperative and transparent supplier relationship.