To remain relevant in the face of competition, it’s essential to build and strengthen the supply chain.
At Shamrock, we’ve been building strategic partnerships with suppliers for more than 35 years. That’s our business model. Because we’ve managed our business this way from day one, building a reliable supply chain has truly become a byproduct of our charge to provide our customers with the marketing solutions that meet their evolving needs.
This model has fueled our charge to diversify our product and service offerings. It’s all about supply and demand: Shamrock’s success lies, in part, in our commitment to respond to the growing needs of our customers by expanding our scope to deliver integrated marketing solutions. Three decades ago, Shamrock was a print broker. Today, we’re a full-service marketing and communications agency with a national footprint and a dedicated supply chain.
That said, we’ve learned a few things over the years about supply chain management. Here’s four tips:
1. Vet & align your suppliers.
Clearly product/service quality and reliability are essential. But go the extra step to make sure that your suppliers are in alignment with your brand’s core values. Environmental sustainability, animal-friendly testing, industry best-practices, etc. Identify the risks and rewards associated with your suppliers and adjust accordingly.
2. Set expectations & establish open communication.
Start by outlining what’s expected—from every angle (vendor to agency and agency to client). At the end of the day, you’re responsible for delivering the product to the client, so make sure that your supplier can deliver on his/her end. Based on that scope-of-work agreement, outline your needs and expectations and provide a clear path for ongoing communication.
3. Maintain accountability.
Hold your supplier partners to stringent quality audits and benchmarks. At Shamrock, we lean on our suppliers to drive innovation and cost efficiencies, which then allows us to compete by delivering the best in quality, turnaround and price.
4. Collaborate with industry leaders & peers.
Best practices are best when they’re shared: We can all learn from one another. Collaboration can lead to innovation, new processes, improved quality standards, new delivery options—the list goes on.
If you’re looking to sharpen your competitive edge, evaluating your supply chain processes is a good first step. As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your last performance. Or product launch. Or campaign. It’s up to you to make it a great one.