One of the maxims of this blog is, “Suppliers don’t offer their best ideas to their worst customers,” and one of the quickest routes to the category of “worst customer” is stretching out payments to 60, 90 or 120 days — as has been fashionable in the automotive and other industries. We generally applaud the idea of thinking like a CFO when you are a supply manager, but too often the finance-department led idea of pushing the cost of money onto suppliers by delaying payments results in tighter margins for the supply base that stifle reinvestment in equipment or research and development.
Apparently President Obama has come around to our thinking on the topic because he recently endorsed an organization of companies that have pledged to pay suppliers quickly, or help them find lower cost working capital.
In the White House announcement, the Administration claims its QuickPay program of paying small government contractors quickly has saved them $1 billion since 2011. The private business version of the program, called SupplierPay is an opportunity not just to save money, but to create better relationships that foster innovation.
Posted in News Analysis, Supplier Relations
Tagged automotive, cost containment, global business, manufacturing, procurement, purchasing, sourcing, Supplier Relations, supply chain, supply management
A recently released Accenture study, “Don’t Play it Safe When it Comes to Supply Chain Risk Management,” shows the wide range of approaches companies take when it comes to managing their supply chain risk.
Unfortunately, only slightly more than one quarter of the companies surveyed are taking the most important tack, developing a “playbook” or plan that various parts of the organization can implement immediately when a crisis strikes.
It’s well and good to identify alternative suppliers that can step in when needed. And it’s critical to monitor all of your suppliers (not just Tier 1) on an ongoing basis for troubling trends and potential risks. Building in excess capacity in the event of high volatility is important, too.
But if you don’t have that plan or playbook everyone can follow, you risk having everyone react “one off” and potentially exacerbate the crisis.
On Wednesday, July 16, ISM will host its Risk Management Summit in New York City. It’s an opportunity to learn how to identify and oversee critical risks, and learn the key measurements you need to effectively communicate and implement a risk strategy. For more information, visit ISM Conferences for 2014.
The Chinese version of the ISM PMI® has ticked up from negative to positive territory, according to reports such as this one on Bloomberg.com.
A preliminary June Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 50.8, up from 49.4 in May. An index above 50 signifies expectations of growth, and Chinese leaders are giving themselves credit for stimulating the economy without resorting to drastic measures.
A survey of analysts by Reuters came to a similar conclusion about the growth of the Chinese economy. More reporting of a stronger Chinese economy comes from the South China Morning Post.
We do a significant amount of work in China and the business environment there is unique, but it has matured since the days when U.S. automakers, for instance, were almost demanding that suppliers source from there. Large Chinese companies are not just focused on exports, but meeting growing domestic demand. They are adapting more sophisticated sourcing strategies of their own, and even investing in manufacturing plants in the United States, as described in this article in The Detroit News.
The strength of China’s economy and the rapid change in sophisticated sourcing is evident in increasing demand for development programs, certification programs and alignment with key universities in China.
The maturation of Chinese companies does tend to reduce their cost-competitiveness, but it also introduces elements of stability that mitigate some risks from sourcing at a great distance. Economic indicators that show slow, steady growth are also good signs of stability.
A seismic shift may be coming in the automotive industry.
“Not even two years after the delivery of the first Model S, Tesla Motors has transformed from fledgling start-up to arguably the most important car company in the world. We are not joking,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas in a quote to the LA Times.
According to the article, suppliers who once dismissed this manufacturer are now considering building dedicated lines and facilities solely for Tesla’s business.
At least four southwestern states are vying mightily to become the home of Tesla’s $5 billion gigafactory which will employ more than 6,000 people to produce enough battery packs by 2020 to supply 500,000 vehicles.
But suppliers and states aren’t the only ones to sit up and take notice. One of the largest automakers in the world, General Motors, established an internal “Team Tesla” to analyze that company’s culture and success. Managing and collaborating with suppliers is one key to success.
Dare we say the current may be shifting toward electric cars?
People, keep on learning is the crux of this research study “Keep Learning Once You Hit the C-Suite” in the Harvard Business Review blog.
While it’s aimed at those in the C-Suite or those who aspire to it, the results are valuable to everyone who cares about his or her career. Who among us wouldn’t benefit from being more flexible, adaptable and curious? A better team player? Or from updating our communications skills and learning to interact through social media? The study talks about the value of mentors, and not just those who’ve achieved long, successful careers. How about a “reverse mentor,” someone younger who can help change old habits and outdated ways of thinking?
The study cites the importance of looking for opportunities to get out of comfort zones. And, to ask for feedback from your team, peers and bosses on how to be better at work. Always keep developing your skills, a self assessment like ADR’s DNA is a good start. I have the view that learning never stops and I can always learn more.
Whether you’re headed to the top, or happy in the niche you’re in, it’s all good advice.