Partnering with Your Suppliers on Mutually Satisfying Goals

July 08, 2014

by Bill Kirchherr

Delivery issues have the power to make or break a business. On-time deliveries to customers can result in more demand, more sales, and ultimately, more revenues. But inconsistent or chronically delayed deliveries can potentially be huge barriers to success, bringing a business to its knees – FAST.

When you’re dependent on your suppliers to keep your lines moving on schedule, you may feel like things are “out of your hands”. If you feel like your business is too much at the mercy of your suppliers’ schedules, interceding in a constructive way can yield great benefits – for both of you.

Help Your Supply Chain to Meet your Requirements

It’s time to exert more control over your suppliers when issues at their end are contributing to problems in your own production. For instance, when you’re consistently experiencing:

  • long lead times
  • inconsistent quality
  • insufficient throughput
  • poor planning and execution

You can get a greater sense of control and much smoother management of your master production schedule by working in tandem with your suppliers, and accounting for their capabilities, capacity, and scheduling within your own planning activities.

Knowledge is Power – Take Some Back

Ever feel like you have no idea when a part will come back from your supplier?
When it returns, are you confident it was processed well? Or are you experiencing too much rework?
When your supplier gives you a return date, how confident are you that it’s realistic?

The worst thing in the world is the unknown. By identifying the unknown facts and facing them head-on, you can adjust your schedule accordingly to plan more effectively and realistically.

So how do you get that much-needed knowledge and transparency in your supply chain? By making a focused commitment to partner closely with your suppliers on critical constraint points and find creative solutions that meet both of your needs.

When customer and supplier can agree to work together on common goals, communicate openly and transparently throughout the process, and meet predetermined responsibilities – great things can happen. We can help you uncover the issues standing in the way of your supply chain’s maximum potential by applying decades of supply chain expertise and a world-class operational focus.

Know the Constraints & Manage to Them

We begin by defining the current state of both the customer and the supplier with Value Stream Mapping to fully understand the nature of the issues at hand. You might be surprised by what is revealed through a fresh perspective, supported by hard data and free from preconceived notions.

We collect, review, and analyze baseline data – looking at current capabilities, scheduling, capacity thresholds, and discovering what further information is needed from either side (customer or supplier). We help both companies clearly define relationship parameters and set production and capacity planning requirements.

Armed with this knowledge and data, we work with both parties to manage demand velocity so the supplier is not overwhelmed and can deliver as promised. With a thorough understanding of supplier constraints and customer demand, we design a specific, timely, and communicated plan that aligns capabilities to capacity and balances to a commitment of what the supplier agrees to deliver.

The end result: a seamless supply chain operation where both the customer and the supplier know what is required to maintain flow and on-time delivery. The key here is to establish mutually satisfying goals – the benefit becomes achievable when both parties want to work together.

CONNSTEP has helped businesses turn their supply chain management around, working on the operational level with clients like Pegasus Manufacturing to improve relationships with suppliers, facilitate clearer communication and transparency, manage expectations, and balance to constraints.

The results have been outstanding:

  • accelerated product flow
  • vastly shorter lead times
  • expedited delivery
  • 100% production quality

Success is Within Reach

Don’t feel powerless – take back the reins with a partnership-based approach to supply chain management. Understand your suppliers’ constraints and give them an incentive to improve performance by letting them know there’s more business to be had if they can improve their capacity.

Remember these keys to success:

  • Partner with your outside suppliers
  • Focus on complete, accurate and timely communication of information
  • Collaborate on planning and execution
  • Commit to upholding your end of the bargain
  • Consult with trained experts in the field who can guide you to success
Request a Consultation


CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

AGRussell logo

Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

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