Supplier Management

Unlocking Innovation from Your Supply Chain – Lessons from Formula 1 Racing

Afrika Morris, Senior Field Marketing Manager UKI at Ivalua

On February 12 Ivalua hosted Senior Procurement and Supply Chain Professionals gathered for an Exclusive Dinner on the 34th floor of The Gherkin with F1 Veteran and Status Grand Prix Founder, Mark Gallagher. The theme of the evening was “Unlocking Innovation from your Supply Chain” with presentations and discussion focused on insights, knowledge sharing and learning from the F1 Grand Prix Pit Stops. Guests from companies including Pearson, RSA, City of London,  ACCYSYS Plc, Conde Nast International, Century Links, Thomson Reuters and more were treated to a Champagne and Canapé reception with sensational views across the City before taking their seats for dinner and discussions.  

Lessons from the evening’s discussion:

Supply chains have more resources and expertise than any single company.  F1 Veteran, Mark Gallagher highlighting the impact of supplier innovations on pit stops – resulting in team success. Alex Saric, Ivalua’s CMO, describing the tangible financial impacts of supply chain innovations. Several lessons were highlighted that were common to those teams / organizations that have realized the greatest success.

Adopt a Collaborative Approach –  Embrace suppliers as partners, not vendors. If you are successful, your suppliers will be successful, and vice versa. Source the right suppliers and set a good foundation from the first steps to build trust and foster innovation. Move beyond a transactional relationship with suppliers. Implementing these principles will add true value and competitive advantage to your organisation.

Scale Collaboration – Maximum value comes not from close collaboration with one or two strategic suppliers, but by scaling collaboration across products and suppliers. Technology is critical here, to provide the visibility, efficiency and ability to share information securely and broadly. For example, when launching a new product, bill of materials automation that shows the available suppliers for every component and allows you to engage with each is critical. Today, too many organizations rely on email or telephone conversations as they lack the technology to scale collaboration.

Ask the right questions – Don’t assume you know everything or that suppliers will proactively reach out with recommendations. Engage and challenge your suppliers – listen and be prepared to be surprised. Provided that there is sufficient trust in the relationship, suppliers will readily share data on improved ways of doing things. 

Realize the full power of your supply chain – an excellent example of this was showcased in Meritor’s effective use of technology to accelerate supplier-led innovation – driving significant revenue growth. Meritor, an industry leading manufacturer of heavy axles and brakes for heavy trucks and an Ivalua customer, rapidly accelerated New Product Introduction (NPI) resulting in significant stock appreciation relative to competitors. All spend (direct, indirect, tooling) managed in a single platform, as well as all supplier management processes. Watch their recent webcast to learn more.

As companies becoming ever more dependent on their suppliers, the need and potential to unlock value from supply chains is ever greater. Leading organizations and teams are abiding by these lessons to drive a true competitive advantage today.

About Mark Gallagher

Mark Gallagher is a renowned keynote speaker on a range of business topics relating to his experiences gained while working in senior leadership roles within Formula 1 motor racing over the last 30 years. Since 1998 he has spoken for many hundreds of organisations, ranging from national SME’s up to large, global corporations.

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