The challenge with companies seems to be in growing and how to manage relationships with gross revenues people and providers. In the instance of Card games For You ( referred to in this paper as C4U ) , the company’s turning strivings have become more apparent in recent old ages as the popularity of the cards have grown as has the competitory force per unit areas from other companies that are saturating the market. Traveling frontward, C4U needs aid in turn toing a figure of countries – from gross revenues and selling to provide concatenation direction – to turn to uncertainness in demand, supplies handiness, and competitory responses. Working with their local providers, C4U might be able to happen ways to turn to the industry challenges and client force per unit areas without giving quality while bettering response clip, operational efficiencies, and costs through a collaborative, incorporate supply concatenation relationship.

This essay examines the current procedures used with providers, high spots other systems utilised by companies in similar markets, and offers recommendations for betterments that will prolong the same degree of quality, bringing, and service that have been trademarks of C4U.

Current supply concatenation direction procedure

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Presently, C4U uses local providers that are little houses. Normally, specialized houses such as this rely on providers that deal in smaller qualities due to the alone nature of the supplies, which in this instance include paper, card stock, ink and silk yarn. John, one of the proprietors, finds that these providers can vouch a better quality than a bulk jobber who may non be able to fit the quality of the workmanship put into the forte cards.

The major job with little providers is that they may non hold sufficiency of the supplies C4U needs on manus to bring forth the demand that they want to accomplish by concentrating on extra client sections every bit good as broadening their merchandise scope. This scheme might non work with local providers because they may non be able to supply the supplies necessary for the extra merchandises. In add-on, there is the issue of costs. By utilizing little, local providers, they must cover with a higher cost for these supplies. All indicants point to the fact that these costs are destined to maintain increasing.

Both Stan and John are presently weighing the options to drop these local providers and develop relationships with larger, national providers. This raises the inquiry of how close a company should be both geographically and relationship-wise with their providers. C4U’s trust on local providers might be out of committedness to assisting the local economic system, but their kindness may be impacting the viability and success of their ain concern.

C4U’s current provider relationship can be described as an incorporate relationship in which there are shared hazards, costs, net incomes and information because the nature of what C4U makes is demanding and sophisticated ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . If the provider does non hold the stuffs, so C4U can non do the cards, drastically impacting both C4U and the providers that benefit from the company’s success.

Background on upstream supply concatenation dealingss

The primary end of any supply concatenation is to more efficaciously organize supply activities with its spouses while cut downing the uncertainness of demand, supplies handiness, and competitory response through better planning and communicating. This involves the demand for all degrees of direction to take part in tracking and reacting to the “dynamics of demand and supply, ” which “significantly impacts net income, service and inventories” ( Donovan 2005 ) . Generally, a company’s supply concatenation is affected by a figure of factors, including economic environments, engineering, competitory forces, and societal and cultural alterations that impact consumer and concern tendencies ( Fill and Fill, 2005 ) . Most significantly, today’s administrations seem driven by consumers whose demands determine success ( Fill and Fill, 2005 ) .

Additionally, these forces so affect strategic determinations with merchandise, monetary value, publicity and topographic point – besides known as the four P’s of selling ( New and Westbrook 2004 ) . All four of these “Ps” are dependent on the relationship that a company has with their providers. For illustration, the quality and monetary value of the stuffs are based on the actions of the beginning of those supplies. In the instance of C4U, they are concerned that choosing new providers will adversely impact the quality but most likely better monetary value fight.

As portion of the supply concatenation direction procedure, logistics is imperative to C4U’s operations. In this facet of supply concatenation direction, there is considerable planning and execution of how the supplies and concluding merchandise is made and stored ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) . Balancing an overall apprehension of supply and demand in the consumer market place enables a company to efficaciously pass on with providers to guarantee prompt bringing of the necessary supplies to react to that demand. For illustration, C4U logistics direction would desire to be after consequently for vacations where the demand for cards additions exponentially. Suppliers, in bend, whether the local companies or those which deal in larger measures, should be prepared to manage this demand.

Industry challenges

Companies are faced with a host of challenges that have them experiencing intense force per unit area and seeking for new schemes ( Gorbach 2006 ) . The list is extended: “dynamic market demands, increased conformity demands, more distributed fabrication operations, rapid merchandise invention, thin fabrication, and the nearing passage to new IT technology” ( Gorbach 2006 ) . Many of these challenges touch on countries that C4U is analyzing in assorted facets of their concern.

Overall, makers have boiled down their challenges to three cardinal issues with their providers. These issues are less service with increasing costs, deficiency of gross revenues endowment, and wholesaler-distributors that do non “execute a value-added strategy” ( Dancer 2007 ) . Customers are “demanding flawlessness in quality, speedy on-time bringing and better pricing” ( Donovan 2005 ) . In many ways, C4U has experienced all of these challenges in their current provider relationships.

For companies that industry merchandises, such as C4U, their precedence remains excellence in public presentation. This is “characterized by the ability to respond rapidly to altering market place conditions, to dynamically reflect these alterations in production marks, and to expeditiously and faithfully accomplish these marks. It besides requires ongoing cost decreases and quality improvements” ( Gorbach 2006 ) . For about every company out at that place, turn toing and work outing these industry challenges is a slightly intimidating undertaking.

Recommended relationship with providers

Research workers are reasoning more frequently than non that “building high-performing supply ironss is progressively dependent on the strength of the societal ties that exist between purchaser and their cardinal suppliers” ( Lawson et. Al. 2007 ) . There are a figure of grounds why relationships are truly the foundation of a successful supply concatenation. First and foremost is the addition in force per unit area from competitory forces and from consumers or other components ( Trent 2005 ) . There is besides a demand to work with a smaller base of providers due to the costs of keeping multiple providers, the chance for duplicate of attempt, and deficiency of efficiencies ( Trent 2005 ) . Buyers who take an “adversarial approach” to working with their providers will happen “their providers increasing monetary values, apportioning limited capacity to other houses, or sharing their most advanced thoughts with other clients – some of whom may be the buyers’ direct competitors” ( Trent 2005 ) . At the same clip, those providers may hold a dependance on their purchasers to keep a profitable degree of concern.

Because the whole construct of supply concatenation direction is based on inter-dependence between stairss that involve both the maker and provider, there seems to be a demand for both parties to develop a stopping point relationship in order to accomplish each other’s aims ( New and Westbrook 2004 ) . For any company, relationships with their providers “ought to be dictated by operating and selling conditions ; this model can specify the appropriate relationship – the foundations of familiarity, if you will – for each constituent supplier” ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) .

Both the providers and the company that uses their supplies have functions to carry through. For the provider, they must be accountable for looking to invariably better their portion in the supply concatenation or be on notice that they could be replaced. ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) . For the company that uses their supplies, they are expected to better gauge their supply consumption and pass on clearly with the provider on that outlook ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) .

However, companies can develop this familiarity of procedures ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) without holding to be in close geographic propinquity to each other. Technology has made this possible. There are some challenges with this scheme in that there has to be an unbelievable degree of integrating, greater scalability, and seamless processing in order to accomplish a unflawed executing of supplies bringing ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) . The sum of engineering may be a immense investing load of C4U and it might be more plausible to pass some on engineering to modernize its local providers to better keep the right degree of stuffs to rapidly react to C4U’s demands.

Collaboration and Socialization

Collaboration is a necessary constituent of the provider relationship because it is a manner “for everyone in the supply concatenation to increase market portion through speedy response to customer’s needs” and the “flow through the full supply concatenation is the critical success factor” ( Donovan 2005 ) . As one research worker noted, “Collaboration demands non merely a committedness of resources but besides the sharing of proprietary information….The information exchanged during coaction may be the most valuable investing a company makes in the relationship” ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . This coaction requires investing in prosodies to mensurate the advancement, alliance of procedures, and dedication on both sides to the attempt ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . Having an incorporate relationship makes C4U and its providers a perfect pick for the collaborative method of supply concatenation relationships.

This coaction can besides be seemed a socialisation between the purchaser of supplies and the providers. There are a figure of facets that present a positive decision on organizing this type of relationship:

Investings in socialisation mechanisms produce a bank of benefits and good will that have the possible to bring forth ‘hard’ benefits to purchasers, such as decreased supply concatenation costs, greater flexibleness, and reduced new merchandise development clip. In return for the benefits of improved public presentation and joint value creative activity, providers are willing to work more expeditiously due to more concise and accurate information sharing, antiphonal proficient aid, joint betterments in preparation, procedure control, and direct investing in provider operations ( Lawson et. Al. 2007 ) .

As such, it may be necessary for the two companies to portion a deeper, more intimate grade of information in order for the coaction to be more effectual. This may included planning and prediction informations, capacity, production agendas, selling programs, costs and stock list ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . The aim of collaborative demand planning is “to develop better prognosiss of client demands faster with consistent updating which should ensue in a more co-ordinated supply and shorter rhythm response times” ( Donovan 2005 ) . At the same clip that there is sharing, there should be steadfast boundaries to set up functions and duties ( Lawson et. Al. 2007 ) .

Collaboration must besides be analyzed and critically challenged before it is implemented with providers because “it is still neither executable nor desirable to join forces with all upstream and downstream supply concatenation participants” ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . As one supply concatenation expert noted, “A major portion of provider relationship direction is distinguishing supplier relationships and understanding when and where to use an appropriate relationship” ( Trent 2005 ) . This doctrine of coaction should be shared or it is non the right tact to take. It is besides critical to non acquire excessively close to providers because excessively much intimacy “may diminish these competitory inducements with friendly providers having favorable terms” ( Lawson et. Al. 2007 ) , taking to the opposite consequence where there are no efficiencies and advantages to utilizing that peculiar provider.

Keeping quality and prompt bringing

If C4U does make up one’s mind to choose for larger providers outside of the local community, careful scrutiny of these providers can assist guarantee that the same degree of quality is possible while accomplishing cost nest eggs and improved bringing of supplies. Companies, such as McDonald’s have been able to turn to providers all over the universe without compromising its demanding quality criterions. However, the hazards with loss of quality are excessively much for a company like C4U to defy if they can non guarantee the same degree as a company like McDonald’s might make. The concern that quality might be lost is truly the Southern Cross of the company’s supply concatenation quandary and about more of import so the stuffs cost issue. This thought circles back to a company like C4U’s primary aim of public presentation excellence. Keeping the ensured degree of quality can be better achieved by lodging with the company’s local providers. The issue of prompt deliver remains a challenge but might be addressed through benchmarking best-in-class supply ironss that offer feasible solutions for C4U to see.

Benchmarking the best

In looking for the right solution for C4U’s issues, it ne’er hurts to analyze and benchmark the best patterns of other successful supply ironss. This scheme enables a company to implement alterations that could better their public presentation and competitory border without inquiring if they are making more harm so good ( Vitasek and Manrodt 2006 ) . This is because they are integrating proved schemes from other companies where the procedures are in action and working to make “a strategic, operational, and fiscal advantage ( Vitasek and Manrodt 2006 ) .

Impact on terminal user gross revenues

If the quality of the merchandise was affected by a switch to an abroad provider, it could drastically impact the company’s card gross revenues. Consumers who recognize the value of the cards due to their beauty and quality by doing the determination to pay about twice the cost of another trade name of card may be offended by an obvious alteration in the stuffs used that they decide to halt purchasing the cards. Once this happens, it is excessively late for C4U to exchange back to the higher quality supplies because the consumer will non return to detect that the quality has returned. The hazard of losing a big part of the client base to salvage on supplies may non be worth it.

However, if the company focuses on bettering response clip and stuffs handiness with its current providers while organizing new relationships with other providers that can spread out C4U’s merchandise line, the company may earn extra market portion and prolong its collaborative relationship with its local providers.

Other recommendations

Again, the recommendation lies in bettering current provider dealingss. Since providers are broken down into three classs – third-tier providers that supply natural stuffs, such as the paper, card stock, ink, and yarn ; second-tier providers that provide subcomponents ; and first-tier providers that provide complete constituents ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) , a company like C4U that relies chiefly on third-tier providers has a better opportunity of procuring better pricing while keeping quality since the end-result quality is based more on the production of the cards which will stay in-house.

The overall recommendation, so, is to see constructing relationships with some providers outside of the local country with a certain per centum of the natural stuffs for the merchandise segments that require the company to retail the cards at a lower monetary value. The more providers the better is non needfully the best doctrine so it is best that C4U does non travel overboard in organizing relationships with any and every natural stuffs provider. Possibly, C4U would be best served to merely seek out these new providers when spread outing their merchandise line into other countries that do non fit the expertness of their current providers.

With the current providers, farther be aftering for greater stock list will assist turn to C4U’s unexpected demand for extra stuffs alternatively of holding a just-in-time outlook in which merely a smaller company could efficaciously work. Using an e-procurement system might assist providers more efficaciously react to C4U when there is an unexpected demand. When needed, C4U could utilize an e-marketplace to buy supplies that they are short on for an attractive monetary value, make fulling a demand for excess stuffs on as-needed footing.

One other option would be to fasten the relationship with current providers by vertically integrate with them to derive greater control over the supplies. This would fundamentally intend that C4U would purchase those providers in order to have the stuffs, deriving better pricing and dependability ( Fill and Fill 2005 ) . Other recommendations involve using major progresss in engineering that allow administrations to break collaborate with their providers through a more rapid information exchange. Examples include “investments in new electronic engineering, such as the meta-data system linguistic communication XML, EDI ( Electronic Data Interchange ) and supply concatenation software” ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . The last two recommendations point to the fact that both “electronic communicating and physical propinquity are utile for scheduling just-in-time constituent cargos, cut downing stock list carrying costs and maintaining the supply concatenation flexible ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) . This collaborative environment and intimacy can supply a figure of mensurable benefits, smooth procedure flows, decreased lead times and decreased stock lists while more efficaciously incorporating such procedures as “order fulfillment, stuffs direction, operational planning, merchandise design, and feedback on quality and performance” ( Mould and Starr 2000 ) .

Overall decisions

Because C4U direction does non hold the experience to truly understand the strategic procedure, the company executives must truly see conveying in people who can assist them understand how to construct a better supply concatenation direction system. These experts can assist C4U construct a stronger bond with their current providers by organizing a collaborative relationship that is enhanced through engineering, communicating, and procedure integrating but is guarded by the constitution of agreed-upon boundaries.

Careful idea should be given to working with new providers on expanded merchandise offerings that the local providers might non be able to supply the necessary supplies. Above all, quality is one of the most of import values and competitory advantages that C4U provides, so it is non prudent that the company hazard that with unknown providers that might hold bargain-priced pricing but hapless quality every bit good. Uniting the best of other companies who have proven best-in-class supply ironss with an unfastened, collaborative environment with current providers will be a win-win for both C4U and its local providers who rely on the company for employment in a fighting local economic system. Consumers will profit from continued quality and the possibility of new and exciting merchandise lines from a alone and distinguishable company.

All alterations within the supply concatenation must be aligned with a scheme that besides addresses issues that the company has in footings of gross revenues, channel direction, and selling communications. Integrating all these countries in a sound concern scheme will assist C4U flourish and go on to turn its gross revenues in a market that had late become slightly concentrated.


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Donovan, R. M. ( 2005 ) .E-supply concatenation direction: pull offing the drawn-out endeavor, Performance Improvement, pp. 1-10.

Fill, C. and Fill, K.E. ( 2005 ) .Business to Business Selling: Relationship, Systems, and Communication, London: FT Prentice Hall.

Gorbach, G. ( 2006 ) .Prosecuting fabrication excellence through real-time public presentation direction and uninterrupted betterment, ARC Advisory Group, pp. 1-19.

Lawson, B. et. Al. ( 2007 ) .Good fencings, good neighbors? Socialization in buyer-seller relationships, The University of Manchester Supply Chain Management Research Group, Manchester Business School, pp.1-6.

Mould, T.L. and Starr, C.E. ( 2000 ) .Dangerous affairs, Accenture, pp. 57-61.

New, S. and Westbrook, R. ( Eds. ) ( 2004 ) ,Understanding Supply Ironss, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Trent, R.J. ( 2005 ) .Why relationships affair, Supply Chain Management Review.

Vitasek, K. and Manrodt, K. ( 2006 ) .Benchmarking – requirement for constructing best-in-class supply ironss, ProLogis Supply Chain Review, pp. 1-11.


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