Four Steps to Superior Supplier Management

Four Steps to Superior Supplier Management


Is your supplier management effort an inclusive activity?

APICS Greater Detroit supports supply chain professionals with the information and education they need to remain competitive in today’s world.

Last week the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) hosted their annual Connect conference virtually. The agenda was full of great supply chain education and the opportunity to network with professionals from all over world. A highlight from day 1 included best-in-class supply chain education and best practices shared by experts.

Michelle Lombard, CPIM, director of supply chain and production planning at SeaSpine, shared her thoughts on how to deliver superior supplier relationship management, starting with involving others in the process.

Read more in our latest blog post below.

4 Steps to Superior Supplier Relationship Management

Michelle Lombard, CPIM, director of supply chain and production planning at SeaSpine, believes supplier relationship management works best when it’s an inclusive activity. In her educational session, she offered clear strategies for involving others in the process, noting, “You can’t do it by yourself and you shouldn’t do it by yourself — or you will fail.”

She shared the following strategies to help create a competitive advantage:

  1. Segmentation. Begin by reviewing your current program. All the stakeholders need to be in the room, deciding together on the criteria that makes a tier one supplier.
  2. Governance. Lombard suggested using a simple RACI diagram to categorize people’s roles. She described this as a way to “non-emotionally” break down the tasks of everyone involved in supplier relationships.
  3. Performance management. “Notice I did not say ‘scorecard,’” she stressed. “Performance management is much broader. … You’re setting the tone for your suppliers.” She added that this requires two-way communication and collaboratively creating roadmaps to future plans.
  4. Supplier development. Lombard said this final step will come naturally once the first three are in place because you have cleared the channels of communication, built trust, are measuring what’s important and have common goals. It’s here that the supplier becomes a strategic partner. “Celebrate this victory together,” she urged, “that’s the icing on the cake.”

Effective supplier management requires engagement from all stakeholders and setting clear expectations leveraging the steps Michelle identifies above.

For over 60 years, supply chain professionals and organizations have relied on APICS to deliver world-class education and certification. At APICS Greater Detroit our programs have helped supply chain professionals work with their suppliers to deliver results needed to stay competitive. There’s still time to advance your career in 2020 with our Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) certification! The CLTD program will expand your logistics, transportation, and distribution knowledge and prepare you for the APICS CLTD certification exam. An expert-instructor led class begins virtually in the Detroit area on September 26th! Learn more…

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