Reprinted from SUPPLY CHAIN DIGEST, July 9, 2008
Expert Insight: Supply Chain InView by Ann Drake
Bids: The Good, the Bad, and the Only (Part 2)
Six Questions to Assess Whether your Outsourcing Relationship is On Track
In my last blog (See Bids: The Good, the Bad, and the Only), I wrote about taking steps to make certain that RFPs are based on complete and accurate information. Surely, data is a key component of a “good” bid. But not every indicator of a successful supply chain partnership can be found on paper.
Choosing the right supply chain partner can be one of the most important business decisions a company can make in this environment of constant and unpredictable change. Exploring and understanding the culture of the two potential partners – as well as the management approach – is essential.
Companies also need to keep evaluating the relationship they have with their existing provider. In some cases, if the relationship is working well, the company may need to consider ONLY one proposal – from the partner that knows them best.
Successful supply chain management requires:
- The sharing of information
- The application of a wide range of capabilities
- The insight to identify and/or create unique strategies and solutions
- The efficient integration and transformation of business processes
- The extraordinary synergy of a vibrant, dynamic relationship built on trust and communication.
Here are some questions a company can ask about its current 3PL provider:
- Is my provider a true partner that understands my business situation?
- Does my provider have people and processes that facilitate collaboration and cooperation?
- Does my provider collect and share information that helps me make smarter, faster decisions?
- Is my provider continually “on alert” for ways to improve my supply chain?
- Can my supply chain respond quickly efficiently to change?
- Does my provider practice open and honest communication and deliver on promises?
If the answer is “yes” to these questions, the partnership is on track. If the answer is no, seeking a better partner may not be a bad idea.
Agree or disgree with our expert's perspective? What would you add? Let us know your thoughts for publication in the SCDigest newsletter Feedback section, and on the web site. Upon request, comments will be posted with the respondents name or company withheld.
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