Supply Chain Transparency and Control
You cannot consistently manage quality, product safety or compliance into an order—especially when the product is already on the water. The only way to effectively deliver on Corporate America's requirements is to proactively develop your supply chain to the point where you can manage the inputs so you actually get your desired outputs—project management speak for "Garbage in = Garbage out".
Don't get me wrong. There are a handful of well-known companies who are true industry leaders and shining examples for the rest of us. These organizations, both suppliers and distributors, have a long-held strategic focus on a properly developed and vetted supply chain. It is perhaps their strongest competitive advantage. Unfortunately for distributors and more importantly for their clients, these companies are too few and far in between. Take care with who you are sourcing from. Look under the hood to see if they are a supplier or a vendor, there is a difference. Protect your end-user clients' brands and get the value for doing so. Your odds of long term success will go up.
Brent Stone is executive director - operations for Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), the promotional products industry's only independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping companies provide safe products. A Six Sigma Black Belt, Stone has more than 25 years of in-depth supply chain management experience with extensive expertise in process design, development, improvement and management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qcalliance.org.