McDonald's continued success around the world can be attributed to the "three-legged stool" approach. The three legs are: corporate staff, franchisees of restaurants and the supplier base. "This is what we call our system, and we believe that all three legs of the stool need to be strong and in balance to stay steady and remain a great platform to grow our business," says Jacquelyn M. Howard, senior director of strategic sourcing within the U.S. supply chain management department for McDonald's USA, LLC.
Supply chain management and corporate leadership at McDonald's have a high level of engagement with the supplier base, keeping one another abreast of market trends, emerging issues and new ideas. "It's not uncommon for an owner of a supplier company to meet with our U.S. president or chair of the board, because suppliers are that important to our organization," notes Howard. Supply chain and other leaders of McDonald's can even be found visiting farmers in the fields to discuss agricultural issues and practices, as the company strives to be involved "from farm to fork," according to Howard.
Suppliers are also expected to work with one another to help strengthen the three-legged stool. "If one of our bakery manufacturers finds a new technology to be more efficient, we expect them to share it with the other bakers in their category on behalf of McDonald's," says Howard. While many companies wouldn't be comfortable sharing this type of information with their competitors, Howard knows the suppliers to McDonald's are committed to the system-first mentality.
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