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On Demand News: 04/25/18

DW Morgan Company OnDemand Supply Chain News-Supply Chain's #WeToo Potential: Translating collaboration into results.

Supply Chain's #WeToo Potential

25 April, 2018 // Collaboration is one of those words like “freedom,” “love,” or “equality.” We all think we know what the term means, and we all say we’re all in favor of it. Yet, few of us have an identical understanding of what collaboration actually means. And, not everyone who talks about collaboration has the fortitude to translate words into results.

That’s why we were excited to see Supply Chain Quarterly’s story this month on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Supply Chain Collaborators,” which was based on a University of Tennessee study of best practices.

Morgan’s own business constantly leverages collaboration. Working, as we do, across the seams and handoff points of in-transit processes, we have the opportunity to see how much cost savings and efficiency can be improved when all supply chain partners work together for the benefit of the end customer. Once we bring those optimizations to light, Morgan redesigns processes, introduces new systems, and manages the multi-party operations to gain real value.

Many of SCQ’s observations square with our own experience, and much of it is formalized common sense. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So, for just one example, the article stresses the importance of creating a collaboration culture. If multi-party cooperation isn’t valued and supported, it won’t be aggressively pursued. We would go a step beyond “culture” and say collaboration has to be a mandate. Too often, we see directives that amount to, “Would all of you suppliers please get together and see how you can make some improvements?”

Fat chance of that happening in an environment where collaborators also compete with one another. For the biggest gains to occur, the client has to demand it, measure it with the right end-to-end metrics (another of SCQ’s 7 habits) and hold vendors accountable to results. That takes smart, careful and resolute leadership, because the best overall solution often means some partners must make sacrifices.

There’s a lot more meat in the Tennessee study white paper, so you may want to download and read the full content. The good news is, just as with in-the-news topics like “equality,” we’re all talking about it now. And, the cost-savings and efficiency gains to be made are significant—maybe the most significant improvements available anywhere in a manufacturing enterprise.

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