Volume 16 Number 8 - August 7, 2018


Thirty years ago most manufacturers referred to their suppliers as "vendors." Too many still consider that key element in the value offered to customers as replaceable cogs, a.k.a. vendors.

This is NOT about being politically correct. This is about respecting the people and businesses that are critical to the ongoing success of your company. The term is "supplier partnerships," not "vendor partnerships."

Why is that? Because we've figured out that it's not our genius alone that creates and delivers value to our markets. We have a mutually dependent relationship with our suppliers. They need us, and we need them. Just as, if we're doing things right, our customers need us as much as we need them.

Consider the most successful innovations your company has recently introduced to the market. Were they improved by insights from key suppliers? If not, you've likely missed out on an even more profound possibility. If so, you understand my point.

Yes, I understand that the source of your toilet paper and pencils may not seem very important to your business. But if your supplier(s) of miscellaneous goods ensures you pay a fair price and always have the quantity you need, they are saving your resources for more important tasks. They provide value, so you don't have to waste time.

If your buyers report to the manager of supply chain, but expectations haven't been raised, you're merely rearranging deck chairs. If everyone in the supply chain department is tasked with adding value in all relationships, then you see the distinction. And you and all your constituencies are benefitting from it.

Perhaps it's time to celebrate with hotdogs for everyone!

The Starting Pistol

W. Edwards Deming:
"Let us ask our suppliers to come and help us to solve our problems."

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"Ask early enough and they can help you prevent many of them."

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