Partnering with suppliers (or customers) to develop deep, mutually beneficial relationships over the long-term is frequently cited as a means by which to lessen risk and develop true supply chain excellence. The reality has been less pretty.
The Institute for Supply Management defines supplier partnership like this: a commitment over an extended time to work together to the mutual benefit of both parties, sharing relevant information and the risks and rewards of the relationship. By that definition, very few customer-supplier relationships qualify as partnerships, say some observers.
But there are companies such as consumer-goods giant Procter & Gamble and Toyota, which often are cited as companies with a strong regard for partnering and collaboration.
So, with a true customer-supplier partnership as a goal, how does a manufacturer proceed to achieve that end?
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