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In a business as competitive as the coatings industry, controlling costs is always a critical component in purchasing decisions. However, there is a growing recognition that along with controlling costs, purchasing can also play a role in facilitating knowledge transfer between suppliers and new product development.
Buyers need to be on the lookout for suppliers that are actively looking to engage in deeper relationships. Michael Dutt, global sourcing manager at Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol Corp. says any time suppliers ask questions about new products or processes, he's quick to prod the supplier for more information and then get his own R&D contacts involved.
On the other side of the process, Dutt says R&D or manufacturing often identifies problems or issues they are trying to solve. His own role is then to convey those concerns to suppliers to see whether they have expertise or specific products that could help.
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