Questions on Change

questions_of_changeThinking about some further topics around business I thought that supply chains for a company whatever size of company or market was a key topic to touch this time.

Then just thinking this through it really clear that most if not all of us rely upon supply chains and where we fit in that supply. Then looking at it in a lateral way it seems everyone is involved in a supply chain, be it business or just being alive.

So in company terms there are many risks as well as support factors. It seems the key factors are knowing what supply chain we need to keep our business safe and what supply chains we feed up the line to make sure we have a product that will be needed, then immediately we come to the overall topic or where and how will our business stay stable by the demand for our supply keep active in terms of a market.

So in simple terms, we need to have a stable supply chain and we need our part in the supply to market chain stay valid. There are plenty of relatively current situations that indicate a great deal of awareness is necessary to keep our business safe where we fundamentally demand and depend on suppliers. So this raises a further major business topic, how much control should we have on or over the supplier? And in parallel, what companies or markets will continue to need our products in the future?

We could just hold it there and have a lot of topics to raise questions to ourselves or in wider terms for our company. This now raises further topics. What can we do to help those who supply us in the chain and what can we do to help or influence those who buy our products up the supply to market chain?

This all becomes a major subject. Some years back some companies demanded to inspect very closely aspects of their suppliers. This led to quite a complex situation where the buyer in effect was controlling the supplier business and profitability. Again a massive topic but it is difficult to see that approach working in practice long term. It opens many risks, for example if the buyer sees major profit angles in the supplier, apart from price control the other lurking topic is that the buyer may rapidly seek to make the product now supplied themselves. The supplier also has another problem of what if their buying market decided to find another supplier? Major issues here that have to be thought through in personal terms for any company.

Associated with this is the age long issue that if a company has agents then if for example the agent is very good, then the parent company cannot but consider buying that agency? Or setting up their own local company. It reaches a further issue of which is the biggest risk for an agent, to be not very successful and avoid a company setting up its own branch company in the market or be very successful and risk major take-over issues. I have briefly touched this topic.

I bring this further topic in because it directly touches some facets of supply chains. Only this is a direct example common for many companies. You can scale it down to say a one or two person company and the same principle applies, the temptation to just employ the few supply individuals in that small company. Good in some respects but many small companies wish to stay independent, that’s part of why they set up in the first place!

Probably having raised the various issues I will leave it there. Yes to some extent there are answers for these issues but the idea is to encourage the thinking in and around the issues for your own company. To some extent there are answers but this is a small set of notes and thoughts that has already grown too long. Maybe next time I will write a few notes on the subject of Change. It is guaranteed to happen and has many fascinating aspects.