That's the group we want to acknowledge and roll out the red carpet for - people of a far different kind than the pop-culture idols trailed everywhere by paparazzi.
Yes, the folks we honor in this issue are VIPs of another sort altogether. They are very important partners, if you will, of our readers. They are providers of logistics and transportation services, they are technology developers, they are consultants - people whose partnership has helped our readers in tangible ways to overcome real-world problems.
And in the very real world of supply chain management, those nominated as great supply chain partners are people relied on to save huge amounts of money, to streamline and bring efficiencies to operations, to enable new business opportunities for you.
So, figuratively, we roll out the red carpet for them in the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue. We acknowledge the valuable service that they have provided to those who nominated them, and we at SupplyChainBrain join in saying, "Thank you."
We received thousands of nominations this year; for some companies, of course, there were multiple nominations. Regardless of the number of "thank you's" any one company received, the fact is someone took the time to fill in a nomination form and send it in to us. That isn't something anyone can be made to do, and the very act of doing it says something about the value the nominating party places on the relationship.
There is simply no way we can publish all of the laudatory comments accompanying the nominations, but we are including some in this issue. We call them Spotlights, and they are just a small way to try to give you a feel for the appreciation people feel for their supply chain partners.
Speaking of spotlights, we have culled 10 partnerships from the many brought to our attention; these we've looked into a bit further, and are delighted to publish them as stand-alone case studies.
You will see that the scope of the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue is global. Nominations each year come from companies of every size and from every vertical, and the nominees themselves are involved in practically every aspect of supply chain management. That doesn't mean they are all household names. Some you know, but others will be new to you. But surely that's a benefit of this issue. Someone has found a company previously unknown to you to be dedicated to the nominator's business success; now they want to tell you about them.
The following details just how we put the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue together. It results from a six-month poll of readers in which we asked logistics and supply chain professionals to nominate providers whose products, services and solutions have made a significant impact on their company's efficiency, customer service and overall supply chain performance. The list is intended to give the red-carpet treatment to providers who have so impressed their customers that they deserve to be held up as examples for others in the industry.
If we could share all of the content of the nominations with you, it would be plain that many clients see this as their chance to publicly thank those partners that have helped them achieve better results, and to let the industry know who is making a genuine effort to be a top-notch supply chain partner. We hope these comments are a useful way to point out services, technology, expertise and support that you can rely on in future.
When you look at the nominations carefully, it's evident that there are certain concerns. The following 10 issues are top of mind for the nominators. See if you don't agree.
What You Want in Your Providers
1. Reliability - Always at the top of the list, and it's easy to see why. Partners who fall down on the job may bring you with them.
2. Excellence - Only the best will do. That's what top-notch companies want in a partner; why would you settle for less?
3. Value - Cost containment never goes out of style, but the No. 1 financial measure is value in terms of increasing sales, production or other revenue-related metric.
4. Expertise - Does your partner really know your business? Does your partner incorporate best practices specific to your industry or market or product?
5. Problem-solving - Does your partner take charge, initiate action, take responsibility - and solve the issue?
6. Continuous improvement - If you never reach a point where you don't need to learn and improve, why accept less from a partner?
7. Support - Always important, you need a partner that will be able to provide support right away.
8. Positive attitude - Partners must find a way to do the job.
9. Global reach - Companies looking to do business around the world need partners with a global footprint.
10. Strong leadership - Companies monitor the leadership of their supply chain partners because they want long-lasting relationships.
• The methodology for the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners nominating process is spelled out on this page. However, very simply, the companies listed here are entirely based on voluntary responses from readers. No one at SupplyChainBrain had anything to do with which companies were nominated.
• We have included 100 vendors simply because it is a manageable number. We actually received nominations for hundreds more. For better or for worse, the number 100 has become the standard for any list of this type.
We thank all who participated in this edition of the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners nominations. These vendors of products and services are true partners because they stood with you and helped you achieve your supply chain goals. By nominating them, you do more than simply roll out the imaginary red carpet for them. You make it evident to everyone - and that includes their competition - what you expect and require from a partner.
Thank you again, and we look forward to your participation next year.
Click here for the complete list of the Great Supply Chain Partners for 2012.
2012 Great Supply Chain Partner Case Studies:
IBM Smarter Commerce
Pilot Freight Services
Parcel Insurance Plan
Methodology for the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners Nominations