Dec 7 2014
“Creating high performance, collaborative alliances between buyers and U.S. suppliers will ensure rebuilding a strong and sustainable American supply chain.”
Robert Moakler reiterates the well known fact that collaboration between suppliers and customers is a win/win, and offers an e-sourcing platform as the better mousetrap that will make it happen.
As COO of an “online marketplace exclusively developed for the American manufacturing industry,” Moakler is forthright about where he is coming from. But is lack of technology the reason why adversarial, arm’s length relations between suppliers and customers remain the norm?
My own findings on this matter — summarized in Lean Logistics, on pp. 342-350 — is that each side stands to gain a short-term advantage from unilaterally breaking a collaborative relationship, and that the business history of the past 25 years shows examples of this happening.
On the customer side, a new VP of purchasing can instruct buyers to use the information suppliers have shared to force price concessions. Conversely, suppliers can leverage intimate, single-sourcing, collaborative relations with a customer to charge above-market prices.
None of these behaviors is viable in the long term, but not all managers care about the long term, and the toughest challenge in establishing collaborative relations is defusing well-founded fears about the future behavior of the other side.
While wishing Mr. Moakley the best of luck in his business, I don’t believe technology is the problem.