Medical Electronics Symposium Conference Proceedings


STRATEGIC SUPPLIERS: DRIVING CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS TOGETHER

Authors: Travis Cline and Mark Preston
Company: Respironics, Inc.
Date Published: 4/25/2005   Conference: Medical Electronics Symposium


Abstract: Effective implementation of lean manufacturing requires the total supply chain to be responsive and flexible. Although companies can drive lean practices internally, the incredible gains that can be realized from lean manufacturing are only achieved by collaborating with your strategic suppliers. Our method focuses on three key areas with strategic suppliers: Open Book Accounting, Strategic Planning, and Supplier Development.

Open Book Accounting provides a means to understand what it takes for a supplier to manufacture a part and then determine if you are "paying the right price". Waste can be easily identified and improvements made to reduce the overall cost, providing a benefit to both the supplier and the customer.

Strategic Planning provides the roadmap for continuous improvement with Strategic Suppliers. Collaboration with suppliers on improving Quality, Cost, and Supply Chain Management results in a supply chain that can support lean manufacturing initiatives.

Supplier Development is a program where both the Company and the Strategic Supplier dedicate resources to support lean manufacturing implementation at the supplier’s facility. The best way to achieve full commitment from strategic suppliers is to develop and set in place lean practices at their facilities. Through this extensive program, the supplier is trained on lean methodologies and applies the lessons learned directly in their facility.

Driving continuous improvement with your Strategic Suppliers starts with understanding the supplier’s processes and cost structure, followed by establishing a strategic plan, and finally working directly with the supplier to implement continuous improvement initiatives at their facility. By working together, you and your supplier can develop a relationship that truly benefits both companies.

Key words: Global Sourcing, Supplier Development, Open Book Accounting, Strategic Planning, Strategic Suppliers, Lean Manufacturing



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