Enlisting Suppliers to Create Competitive Advantage

Today’s guest post is from Robert A. Rudzki, President of Greybeard Advisors LLC, who has (co-) authored a number of acclaimed business books, including Beat the Odds: Avoid Corporate Death and Build a Resilient Enterprise, On-Demand Supply Management, and the supply management best seller Straight to the Bottom Line.

Feedback is a familiar term to most people, and its principles can be found in many aspects of business. For example, some supply management departments regularly request “feedback” from their internal clients as well as from their supply base. Sometimes this is done formally, with a predetermined list of questions about performance in the past year; sometimes it is done informally. Asking the right questions, and acting upon the feedback, are important elements of improving your performance.

A complementary concept is “feed-forward.” Feed-forward, as opposed to feedback, is a proactive approach. Based on its origins in the technical world, feed-forward watches for and monitors changes in the environment, as a way to anticipate process changes that may be required in order to maintain a desired level of performance. From a business application perspective, it tends to focus on a desired future state, and identifying ideas to help create that future state.

Next-level organizations are interested in both feedback and feedforward insights as one avenue to creating competitive advantage. One way to accomplish this is through a carefully-constructed and executed “Supplier Satisfaction Survey.” Interested to learn more? Take Greybeard’s Supplier Satisfaction Survey.