The shift from ME to WE in the supply chain is inevitable. The faster we get there, the better.
That's my unvarnished opinion and I'm not moving off it. I've lost count on how many meetings, conferences, and conversations I've had on this topic over the years. One thing almost always happens though, guaranteed. The person(s) I'm with all nod their collective heads in agreement.
That's the situation. We all know that something is broken, however, it doesn't get fixed.
That's my personal rub – why, if we all agree that the supply chain doesn't work to it optimal performance, settle?
I read an interesting piece recently from a twenty-plus year Deloitte study of supply chain complexity. Enclosed is a segment of the study:
The Customer Collaboration Paradox — Few manufacturers collaborate closely with customers. While most manufacturers claim to place a high value on customer service, no more than 8 percent reported collaborating with clients on important issues. Points of mutual concern include strategic planning, inventory management, and cost reduction.
Companies are much more likely to drive engagement with suppliers than with customers. Deloitte describes this phenomenon as "…manufacturers looking backward (to collaborate with suppliers) rather than forward (to collaborate with customers)." An efficient supply chain works in two directions from raw materials to finished products. By considering your customer's supply chain in production planning, you'll improve the efficiency of your operation while adding value to the product as a whole.
Industry Market Trends - http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/2014/01/21/complexity-of-modern-manufacturing-supply-chain/
While collaborating with suppliers is great, I believe the greater prize in total landed cost is developing those relationships with the retailers. The retailers now hold the power in the supply chain. And that power shift doesn't come from them directly. Instead, they are reacting the desires of the consumer – you and me and how we buy from the marketplace.
Maybe the answer lies in a neutral third party that only wants to make the flow more efficient.