The Keys to Successful Global Sourcing
In today’s highly competitive environment, global sourcing is no longer a competitive strategy but a standard practice.
But the challenge of identifying new suppliers, reviewing new products with existing suppliers, negotiating contracts and confirming timely supplier production runs is a complex and difficult task. Add in today’s international sourcing structure, involving many parties—often globally dispersed with weak lines of communication—and product launches can face high risks of failure, missed deadlines, and high costs.
What is needed for success are global supply chain management processes and technology that manages the lifecycle of the product from design through production until the finished good is ready for delivery—the connection of product development with manufacturing. Further, this system should integrate people, data, processes and business systems; successfully manage costs and maximize sales; and provide a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise, creating a collaborative, cohesive effort with the company, its suppliers and its suppliers’ suppliers.
Using global trade management (GTM) technology to automate vendor and product management advances these goals: it improves operational productivity by consolidating order data and streamlining all functional areas across the entire global supply chain ecosystem. This solution should reside on a single collaborative platform, which streamlines real-time visibility across all relevant parties to improve the planning, forecasting, and raw material reservation processes. Additionally, it centralizes the supplier approval process and documentation requirements, resulting in improved process efficiencies, increased production visibility and improved supplier performance.
Successful and profitable global sourcing also needs to take into account potential risks and quality management issues. Companies must have the ability to accurately determine whether all trading partners are in compliance with regulatory requirements and product safety and quality guidelines. Among other capabilities, risk and quality management solutions enable a management-by-exception approach and streamline test and audit requests with third-party, supplier or internal teams.
When executed properly, sourcing tactics enable management to coordinate the efficient flow of new products across the supply chain as well as assist downstream supply chain teams with the ramp-up of manufacturing, logistics, marketing and other related activities to support the product release. Companies can improve visibility into the new product pipeline; enable earlier input into design and development; and take into account constraints that, with sufficient lead time, can be raised and jointly addressed.
The result of using technology to link sourcing to the rest of the global supply chain is end-to-end, collaborative, and seamless visibility from before goods are made to when they are delivered. Uniting these pieces closes the information gap between the critical juncture of what happens before a purchase order to what happens after, necessary to successful and profitable sourcing.