If we're not directly sourcing parts, raw materials or finished goods from someplace that many of us thought exotic in geography class, we're trading with someone who is. If we're not manufacturing something in another country or marketing to folks overseas, we're actively engaged with somebody who's doing those very things.
Indeed, in many cases, our global footprint has enlarged as the world has grown smaller. So face it: we're already globalized no matter where we are. That's why our theme in this year's special 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue is not about “going global.” Rather, it recognizes that you're already an international player. So then, how do you strengthen your global network? For one thing, you didn't develop an international dimension to your business alone. You had one or more partners – folks with expertise in your field and knowledge about the business culture in the country or countries you're dealing with. It's that group that we celebrate in the annual 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue.
Not only is that a group you want to maintain contact with, it's the kind of relationship you need with others as your business continues to expand. These folks may provide you with logistics and transportation services or they may be technology developers. Some of them are consultants. Whatever the case, we're speaking about partners who have helped you in tangible ways to overcome real-world problems.
We celebrate in this issue many of the companies that you acknowledged relying on to save money, to streamline and bring efficiencies to your operations, or who in some way enabled you to capture new business.
In the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue we recognize the valuable service they provided to those who nominated them. In fact, thousands of nominations poured in this year. For some companies, there were multiple nominations; for others, perhaps only one or two “thank you's” were received, but they expressed sincere gratitude for a partnership that allowed them to concentrate on their core efforts while their providers took care of non-core responsibilities. Regardless of the number of appreciations any one company received, the fact is somebody was moved to fill in a nomination form and send it to us. You simply can't compel anyone to do that, and the very act of doing it says something about the value the nominating party places on the relationship.
We can't run all of the laudatory comments, but as always we include some in what we call Spotlights. They are a quick way to give you a feel for the appreciation folks have for their partners.
They accompany this issue's 10 case studies, which are detailed articles based on in-depth interviews with the parties. We believe they illustrate our theme this year: strengthening your global network.
Speaking of global, the scope of the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue is just that, global. Nominations each year come from companies of every size and from every vertical, and the nominees themselves are involved in supply chain management in just about every manner possible. They aren't all household names; at least, not in every country. Some you know, others you probably don't. But 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.
So, here's how we put the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue together. It follows 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 purpose of the list is to focus on those providers who have so impressed their customers that they deserve to be held up as examples for others.
It's clear from the nominations that many clients see this as their opportunity to give a public salute to those partners who helped them achieve better results, to let people know who is genuinely trying to be a top-notch supply chain partner. In keeping with our theme, it's our sincere hope that the Spotlights and case studies in this issue point out services, technology, expertise and support that can strengthen your network in future.
When you look at the nominations carefully, you will see what are the 10 ten issues in readers' minds.
What Do You Need in a Partner?
1. Reliability – Please, partners who fall down on the job need not apply.
2. Excellence – Nobody wants to be second-rate, so why would they rely on a partner that isn't at the top of its game?
3. Value – This metric can be difficult to define, but the top financial measure is value in terms of increasing sales, production or other revenue-related area.
4. Expertise – Why would you choose a partner who doesn't know your business inside and out?
5. Problem-solver – A partner that isn't self-motivated to scope out problems and deal with them is not a true partner.
6. Continuous improvement – Does your partner rest on his or her past laurels or are they always fine-tuning their skills and expertise?
7. Support – Support is good; support right away is better; immediate, effective support is best. What does your partner bring to the table?
8. Positive attitude – You need a partner who truly believes problems are opportunities.
9. Global reach – You're global. Why isn't your partner global?
10. Strong leadership – Who's in charge there – a boss or a real leader?
• The methodology for the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners nominating process is detailed on this page. 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 want to thank everybody who participated in this edition of the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners nominations. These providers of products and services are true partners because they stood with you and helped you achieve your supply chain goals. By nominating them, you're doing more than merely acknowledging them. You're telling them, the world and your competition just what it is that you expect and require from a partner. You're saying that you are dedicated to strengthening your global network, and you know just the right folks to help you do that.
Thanks again, and we look forward to your participation next year.
Click here for the complete list of the Great Supply Chain Partners for 2013.
2013 Great Supply Chain Partner Case Studies:
Ben & Jerry's; InfinityQS International
Craft Equipment; Crider; Steel King
DAMCO; Italika; Elektra; Grupo Salinas
Hoganas AB; ToolsGroup
Europa Worldwide Logistics; Acellos
Procurator; Blue Ridge Inventory Group
Super ATV; Purolator International
California Innovations; Weber Logistics
Port Jersey Logistics; American Bounty
Sun-Maid; Kane Is Able
Methodology for the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners Nominations