By Nikki Willett - CSO, ComplianceQuest
Although medical device companies have been working closely with their supplier/partners in the past years, there has been an increased focus on Collaboration and Visibility.
Because the pace of business has increased exponentially, businesses must be able to respond to new market demands with agility and innovation. Facing increasing demand for sustainable products and production, companies are relying on their partners more than ever before. Companies aren’t collaborating with partners merely as providers of finished goods or packaging, but as strategic partners that can help create products that are competitive differentiators.
Collaboration is a critical element of a supply chain. Organizations need to work as an integrated network of companies, with access to the same latest information, working towards a shared mission to deliver results and be ahead of their competitors. If one good partner can enable a company to build its brand, expand its reach, and establish its position as a market leader – imagine what’s possible when an organization works collaboratively with the rest of their partners and suppliers.
ComplianceQuest recently collected information from its 2018 Survey about Supplier Collaboration Capability Maturity. It shows that companies, overall, are trying to improve their collaboration capabilities. However, the average shows that companies are just at the tip of making this continuous improvement journey. As the Supply Chain continues to grow in complexity we can see that this will be a critical path to ensuring overall product quality.
Key findings from the report:
- Overall partner/supplier program - 55% of the companies responded they had excellent programs in place. However, 45% declared they are still progressing in improving their overall program.
- Partner/Supplier communication and exchange - Communication and exchange of documents and data was very poor with a total of over 60% still using very manual methods.
- Visibility into partner/supplier quality and operational performance - Out of all the questions concerning visibility over their Partner/Suppliers, not one showed progress and over 60% still were manual with no to little visibility over partner/supplier quality and operational performance.
Companies appear to be doing well in developing and maintaining their programs around Quality and partners/suppliers, either driven by internal business initiatives or to meet regulations. However, the goal of collaboration is to increase visibility throughout the value chain to make better management decisions and to ultimately decrease value chain costs. The lack of technology usage is impeding progress in communication/collaboration and seeing partner/suppliers’ overall performance in near real-time. With technologies such as Modern Cloud Enterprise Quality Management Systems, Cloud ERP, AI and Big Data, companies can quickly advance visibility across the end-to-end supply chain and provide key people with the information needed to make business-critical decisions with the best available information.
Good partner/supplier collaboration can cut down on uncertainty, reducing the need for controls and increase the efficiency of transactions. Best-in-class organizations will leverage business networks to create a digital community of partners executing coordinated processes in a more responsive, flexible, efficient and informed way. Working with partners/supplier in increasing speed to market = collaboration + visibility.