Daily Archives: September 18, 2007

Great Supply Chain Partners Have What Customers Want

This summer, as reprinted on the companion Supply Chain Brain site, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Strategies ran a special report on the 100 Great Supply Chain Partners that also included an overview of what customers want from their partners that is worth reviewing. According to the article, the 10 most common qualities that buyers looked for in their vendors were as follows:

  • Reliability
    A buyer’s customers will not accept excuses for service failures, so neither should the buyer. Furthermore, when a vendor has proved itself to be rock-solid, an enduring partnership can ensue.
  • Repeatable Excellence
    While good performance is expected, vendors who go above and beyond what is required are the ones getting accolades – and repeat business.
  • Value and Cost Savings
    The key motivation these days for any new technology or outsourced service is cost savings and the most important financial measure is value in terms of increased sales, production, or other revenue-related metrics.
  • Expertise and Knowledge Base
    Manufacturers and retailers increasingly look to their technology and logistics providers for best practices specific to their industry, market or product. Vendors that have this expertise quickly become trusted advisers.
  • Problem-Solving Ability
    Partners able to deal effectively with unexpected events without missing a step earn the eternal gratitude of their customers.
  • Continuous Improvement
    Buyers want to see a plan for product development, so they know their needs will be met in the years ahead.
  • Support
    Rampant industry downsizing means that most companies must rely on their vendors to implement, train, maintain, and support the technologies and services provided.
  • Positive Culture
    Companies want to do business with vendors that are positive about what they can accomplish.
  • Global Capabilities
    Companies of all sizes are looking for technologies and services that allow them to operate with trading partners all over the world.
  • Strong Management
    Nothing can damage a relationship between a company and its partners faster than an erosion of commitment from the partner’s management.

All of these capabilities can be easy to forget at one time or another, but all of them are important and all of them must be consistently applied in order to win and retain your customer’s business through the ups and downs of the market.

Knowing is half the battle … and we’ll use it to win the war!