Say ‘Thanks’ to Your
Supply Chain Partner
ou know how sometimes
something strikes you and you
just can’t seem to stop thinking about
it? It happened to me as we were
preparing this issue, our annual 100
Great Supply Chain Partners report.
One of the nominators said this
about their logistics services
provider: “They allowed us to reduce
our freight spend and come in under
budget by $700,000 in 2010. We are
also on track to reduce our annual freight spending
by another $1m during 2011.”
Obviously, the nominating company has to be of
some size to throw those kinds of numbers around.
But I have to tell you, I was floored when I read that
because that’s not chump change to any company, no
matter how big they are. So, yeah, I guess they did
nominate their 3PL as a pretty doggone good partner!
But I keep recalling it—and, yes, the high number
does in fact have something to do with that—because
it illustrates so well what the 100 Great Supply Chain
Partners issue is all about: celebrating relationships
with providers that have helped companies start up,
overcome obstacles, or achieve new heights in some
vital area. And, of course, it’s an opportunity to publicly say thank you to those providers for the product
or service that made it all possible.
As always, we started the process for this issue
more than six months in advance. That’s when we
posted nomination forms on the SupplyChainBrain.com web site. Within short order, thousands
(and I do mean thousands) of nominations began
pouring in. Companies of every description—big
and small, all the verticals, you
name it—listed the providers they
feel have helped them boost productivity, cut costs, increase cus-tomer-service levels, or whatever.
Here’s the part that amazes me:
nobody makes them do it. OK, has
a provider never urged a customer
to nominate them for this issue? Of
course, they have. But even with
that, nobody can make you follow
through. It’s not in any contract that I know of that
you have to say nice things about your provider.
Yet customers do just that, each year. That, it
seems to me, attests to the validity of most of these
Customers are acutely aware of the importance of
their partners, that they rely on them, that without the
expertise the partner brings to the relationship clients
would not be able to concentrate solely on their so-called core competency. Indeed, many would have to
build in-house departments to handle the services
they now can outsource. In the case of a technology
solution, that almost always would be impossible.
That has to be sourced externally, so you must exercise extreme care in picking that partner.
In the end, partnership is about more than
money—whether chump change or not—it’s about
survival in a difficult time. So, yeah, I keep thinking
about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that
company saved on transportation. Because it means
the company is free to invest, to keep folks
employed, to keep going. A little “thank you” is definitely in order.
Russell W. Goodman