The former is aligned with an outdated view of suppliers as mere commodity vendors: squeeze them for cost reductions and hold them accountable to deliver. The latter addresses what more enlightened companies want from their suppliers today: a strategic relationship and partnership to drive value for both organizations. With busy agendas, stretched employees, and insatiable demands, we must recognize the value add of supplier partnerships and should hold suppliers to higher standards. But it’s also up to companies to create an environment where suppliers can thrive as a strategic asset.
So how can suppliers provide strategic value for your company? Let’s first consider your value proposition. You are selling your products and services, and your suppliers handle either a piece of the product/service execution or delivery of the products and services, or possibly both. How can you work together to drive more value to your end customers?
The first answer to that question is another question: have you asked your supply chain for ideas on how to innovate and drive greater value in your customer value proposition?
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