Leveraging Your Supply Base

Leading companies often take advantage of a powerful source of competitive advantage: preferred relationships with their suppliers

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When the subject of “leverage” is mentioned in a procurement department, it usually refers to bundling of internal needs to create as much buying power as possible. That’s a good and valuable concept. The purpose of this post is to suggest another, equally-valuable perspective on “leveraging your supply base.”

Leading companies often take advantage of a powerful source of competitive advantage: preferred relationships with their suppliers. Research shows that these customers receive preferential treatment from their suppliers in two important ways:

1. Direct investment made by the supplier to benefit a single company, such as dedicated capacity, exclusive use of a new technology, or key engineers assigned to the customer’s product development teams.
2. Exceptional service, such as preferential scheduling of orders, more frequent deliveries, better pricing, shorter lead times, and similar advantages.

Are you the type of company who consistently receives preferred treatment and investment from your suppliers? Or are you “just another customer” - one of the many who fail to capture the benefits that a world-class supply base can provide?

Do you even know how to “leverage your supply base” in this regard? Where would you start? A great first step is to survey your supply base.

If you find this topic intriguing, you can download an information sheet at the Greybeard Advisors website:

http://www.greybeardadvisors.com/services/supplier_satisfaction_survey/


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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