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100 Great Supply Chain Partners: Soaring Together ... Successfully

Oh, sure, go on and do it by yourself. Just try to run the company without any help. Treat suppliers like you don't need them. Go on! If there's a recipe for disaster, that's probably it: acting like you don't need anybody else's cooperation, input or ideas. The reality is quite a bit different though, isn't it? No company, no supply chain, exists in a vacuum. We do rely on each other, because no one of us can do it all, successfully, by ourselves. We need partners. Ah, but which partners – which ones are right for you?

100 Great Supply Chain Partners: Soaring Together … Successfully

That really is the crux of the matter. Because we are dependent – so interdependent – we need to carefully vet who we team up with. When we do that, we rise together in business. We soar together … successfully.

Because our businesses are so complex these days, seldom are we talking about a relationship with just one partner. Numerous linkages need to be formed, and each must be based on agreed-upon goals and paths to reach them. Moreover, these partnerships are generally forged after the parties have very carefully studied the others' histories and achievements. Longstanding relations can exist only if reliability and ethical stances are baked in from the get-go.

Parties soar together … successfully when a partner's word is his or her bond, and where each is genuinely committed to the success of the venture. Often that means more than honesty and openness. It calls for a frankness. And, of course, it means investing time, energy and money in the relationship.

Soaring together … successfully means every partner wins. Of course, contracts are hammered out, and are expected to be adhered to. However, the best partnerships are those where the parties are vested in everyone's success. A spirit exists that says no one wins unless everybody does.

We'd like to think that this, our annual 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue, illustrates that kind of we're-all-in-this-together spirit. We'd like to feel that that kind of relationship, one built on trust and commitment, is widely valued in the business community.  

This much is for certain: some companies appreciated their partners in logistics and transportation services or in technology or in some other area under supply chain management enough that they were moved to nominate them as Great Partners for this issue. We celebrate that kind of spirit.

The nominators had to believe that their partners helped them in some important way to overcome real-world issues. In other words, the partners didn't merely do what the contract stipulated; they did what was necessary to ensure that the relationship was fruitful and beneficial – to everybody.

Perhaps the companies you nominated went out of their way for you to such an extent that you saved money. Perhaps they helped you bring efficiencies to your operations. Could it be that they enabled you to win new business that otherwise you would have missed out on? Any one of those possibilities is a positive, and is deserving of recognition.

Every year, in this issue, we celebrate the kind of spirit that leads to, well, soaring together … successfully. In the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue we recognize the valuable service provided to those who nominated them. In fact, once again this year, thousands of nominations came in. Some companies, of course, had multiple nominations; for others, perhaps only one or two thank-you notes were received. It doesn't really matter. Each nomination expressed gratitude for a partnership that allowed someone to focus on their core efforts while their providers took care of non-core responsibilities.

Here's the reality: no matter how many appreciations any one company received, the fact is somebody was moved to send us a nomination. You can't force anyone to do that, and the action says a great deal about the value the nominating party places on the relationship.

We could fill the entire magazine were we to publish all of the compliments that were sent in. The few that we can include are called Spotlights, and they are designed to give you a feel for the appreciation folks have for their partners. In addition, in every 100 Great Supply Chain Partners issue we publish a number of case studies, which are detailed articles based on in-depth interviews with the parties. While these obviously deal with specific relationships, we feel they illustrate the trust, commitment, energy and concern of every one of the 100 partnerships we include in this report.

Nominations are received each year 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. The companies aren't always household names; at least, not in every country. Some you know, doubtless others are new to you. In our view, that's another 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.

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 or 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 top issues in readers' minds.

What's a Partner Got to Bring?

* Reliability – Meaning well is not enough; hope is not a business model.

* Excellence – If they don't have this upfront, should they be your partner?

* Value – Seriously, what does your potential partner bring to the table?

* Expertise – Give me a partner who knows my business – and something I don't already know.

* Problem-solver – You deserve a proactive partner, not one looking to you for the answers.

* Continuous improvement – Does your partner value ongoing education?

* Support – Your partner needs to support you well after the sale is done or the implementation is finished.

* Positive attitude – You need a partner who sees challenges as opportunities.

* Global reach – You can't conquer the world if you have a stay-at-home partner.

* Strong leadership – What's required is much more than Leadership 101.

Other points:

• 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 year's 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.

These are the kind of folks who make it possible to soar together ... successfully.

Thanks again, and we look forward to your participation next year.

Click here for the complete list of the Great Supply Chain Partners for 2015.
2015 Great Supply Chain Partner Case Studies:

Ryder – Royal Building Products
Purolator International – Legendary Whitetails
GENCO – Sears Holdings Corp.
Quintiq – Marquis Management
C.H. Robinson – Vizio
Infor – Allergan
LeSaint Logistics – Turtle Wax
Paragon Software Systems – Glanbia
Vecco International – Phibro Animal Health

Methodology for the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners Nominations

The list of partners following this report is based solely on entries voluntarily submitted to, where the official nomination form has been posted since early this year. Over the last few months, many readers received emails asking them to participate and directing them to the form. Other readers and users of the website independently found a link to the official nomination form on the home page.

Nominations could only be made using the official web-enabled form that required nominators to identify themselves, their position, their company, their email address and a phone number where they could be reached to verify their responses. For their nomination to be counted, the participants had to provide adequate identifying information to verify their identity and their legitimate role in the industry. Nominations from participants selecting their own companies or closely allied entities were disqualified, as were multiple nominations from the same customer company.

Participants could nominate up to three companies and could support their nomination with as much or as little commentary as they wished. To provide more in-depth information for this report, some nominators were interviewed after they submitted their completed forms. We received thousands of qualified responses nominating over several hundred companies. The final list presented here includes the 100 companies that received the most nominations. In the case of ties, the nominations with the most detailed justification were selected.


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