Are You Training Your Supply Chain?

by Sterling J. Scott, Marketing Communications Coordinator, MHI | @mhi_sterling

As the globalization, expansion, and growing interconnectivity of supply chains make them more complex, businesses and their suppliers are faced with new challenges, with new opportunities for growth. Many top companies invest a vast amount of resources in innovation. This commitment to innovation drives growth as they compete to remain top manufacturers and service providers. However, many of these top companies are not reaching their full potential. Their businesses are innovating, growing, and developing, but many of their suppliers are not.

Whether it is due to lack of resources, lack of skill sets, or lack of knowledge, many suppliers are unable to keep pace with the businesses that rely upon them. The technical/industry knowledge, operational practices, and skills that are fostered and developed within many businesses are not shared with or fostered and developed in their suppliers.

This compartmentalization of knowledge that has helped many businesses thrive and separate themselves from the competition also limits their ability to optimize their operations. Knowledge-sharing is perceived to be a risk that threatens competitive advantage rather than an opportunity to improve competitive advantage. Here are some examples of companies that are getting training right.

Apple Inc.
Apple has realized the potential of training its supply chain as a part of its expansion strategy in China. The Apple University program is based out of Cupertino, CA and has full-time instructors from many prestigious institutions including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. The program is available for mid-level employees and managers at Apple and trains them on Apple’s decision-making, communication, and collaboration.  The company is expanding its Apple University program to China and will include product engineering and manufacturing as a part of the program as it integrates its suppliers into the program.

The Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola also has a history of training its suppliers. The company has partnered with non-governmental organizations to train 40,000 farmers in its supply chain to increase juice production in Uganda and Kenya.

Ford Motor Company
Ford and other auto manufacturers collaborate to train supplier companies on fostering responsible work environments and have implemented their training programs in Argentina, Brazil, China, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela.

Suppliers need training on the best operational practices in order to help the companies they supply meet their full potential. They not only need industry-leading knowledge, but they also need industry-leading products and solutions. For more information on optimizing your supply chain, visit Download relevant case studies and publications as well as connect with leading providers of supply chain products and solutions.