I interviewed Irina Rosca who discussed Supplier Relationship Management Strategies- the need for Collaboration and Transparency.
Can you talk about the sate of the idea of collaborating with suppliers? What's going on now and what is happening in the market?
I think that over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of hype around customer relationship management, right? There’s a big hype on CRMs and a lot of companies are gathering a lot of information from their customers. But from my personal experience, I’ve worked with a lot of wholesale companies, manufacturers, those types of things. And so what I’ve seen is a lot of companies really like to put a lot of stain on their upstream partners for longer payment structures, for shorter delivery times.
But there’s not really a collaborative approach to this and so I think that we really need to start, as an industry, right, I guess as a profession supply chain managers, we need to start thinking about building better relationships with our upstream partners because that’s really the best way to continue to ensure that you’re bringing the best service and you’re creating the most value for your customers.
At this particular point in time, I think that there’s a little bit of thought around the subject and a lot of companies are starting to gather more data from their supply chain which in turn is kind of bringing that collaborative mindset to the forefront. But I do believe that we need to pay a little bit more attention to building those stronger relationships and adding value to all of our supply chain partners.
Can you talk about how things can be improved?
Yeah. I have a couple of examples in mind from a supply chain financial perspective for example, I mentioned that we do put a lot of strain on our upstream suppliers to have different payment terms, right? So then what we want as companies is to have more working capital and so if we’re not, if we receive an invoice from a supplier and we have usually a 90-day or a 60-day to 90-day payment term, there’s been a lot of push lately to extend that to maybe 120 days. And we fail to recognize that just as much as we need that cash to maybe invest in R&D or bring the products to the market or whatever that may be, our suppliers do as well.
And so we really need to think about, thinking about our financial management and our supply chain a little bit better. Also, there’s also a lot going on, there’s a lot of globalization and supply chains and so we really need to have a little bit better relationships with our 3PLs and our transportation partners because disruptions happen everywhere and we’ve all seen what happen at the port of Los Angeles last year and therefore, how that spread to all of the West Coast ports in the United States and that really disturbed a lot of the retail markets especially during the holiday season in the United States. And so if we did have a better communication and more visibility that we created through these stronger partnerships with our suppliers and our vendors and our service providers, then that really would offer us a much better opportunity to service our customers in a more timely manner to become more transparent and to actually gain that knowledge as to what’s actually going on within our whole network.
Do you have any success stories that you could share?
I think that there’s, a couple come to mind. I recently attended a conference and there was a lot of discussion around this. And so actually, Colgate-Palmolive did a really good presentation and I think that they, I’ve been following the company for a while and they have a huge global supply chain and they have great inventory management, great relationships with their suppliers and the way that they do that is through a complete end to end visibility within their supply chain.
What happens is that they actually align their operational goals and objectives with those of their suppliers. And so it becomes a vested [ph] interest for every single member of that group to make sure that Colgate-Palmolive is successful and they reach and exceed their metrics and really actually work as a cohesive team throughout the whole network. I think that they do a fantastic job from that perspective. And they take very well advantage of all of the technology and software that’s come along over the past couple of years to create that visibility on a platform that everybody has access to. And everybody understands the risks that different markets are exposed to.
I guess another one that would come to mind, there’s so many but Kellogg for example does a very good job at that as well and they’ve taken advantage and just recently of implementing predictive analytics into their support chain management. And so they work very closely with their suppliers and they’ve actually brought these representatives to the table in decision-making. And again, it’s the idea of everybody having a vested interest in each other’s success. It’s aligning all of the strategic and tactical goals of the whole network. I think that those two, I would definitely suggest that they are leaders in this particular field.
Thank you. Can you provide a brief background of yourself?
Yes. I’m very passionate about supply chain management. At the moment, I am working with small and medium size companies and trying to help them think about this a little bit better by creating supply chain visibility within their networks. A lot of small and medium size companies in the United States actually don’t have an integrated business management system and so not only do they not have information in what’s going on globally but they fail to really gather the information from within their actual organizations. At the moment, I am helping them upgrade their management systems. I come from a background of consumer package goods and textile industry, wholesale primarily and from an operations and supply chain strategic planning approach.
Thank you for sharing today.
Thank you so much for having me. I look forward to participating again.
Yup. I look forward to talking again in the near future.
Thanks so much Dustin.
About Irina Rosca
Supply Chain at SKLZ