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Where Does Supplier Life Cycle Management Starts供应商寿命周期管理从何开始?

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西方管理界有一句话叫No Measurement, No Management (没有测量,就没有管理),意思是说所有的管理都是从测量开始的,包含对一项任务,一个项目,一组员工,等等,同样适用于对供应商的管理。进一步延伸一下,供应商的管理又从何开始呢?

There is a saying in western management that, “No Measurement, No Management”, which suggests that all management begins from measurement, ranging from a task, a project, a team of staffs, etc. Similarly, it can also be applied to management of suppliers.  To extend further, where should the supplier management start

供应商的管理从定要求和规则开始,这叫立则兴,不立则废。要求和规则从业务的基础 – 采购环节开始,采购的战略和定位顺从公司和组织的业务需要和定位开始。

The supplier management begins from setting up requirements and standards, which is known as “Establishing rules indicates prosperity; whereas not doing that indicates decline. Requirements and standards starts from the basic part of business—procurement, while the strategies and positioning of procurement compromise to business needs and positioning of the company or organizations.”


Parents of small children may be quite experienced as they know that if they want to refuse requests from their children, they must establish rules first and ask him(her) to act accordingly. For instance, only when children finish their homework first can they watch TV. Likewise, teachers are also experienced in encouraging students to get high marks. They not only ask students to take tests, but also tell them admission scores as well as the ranks, even though these are apparently not all tips.


Similarly, supplier management also requires rules and regulations which will be cascaded to suppliers by all means in order to make them accept these terms.


To make these into reality, we should at least accomplish following items:

1.健全采购方的内部流程Establish Clear Internal Procedures at Purchasing Organizations


To make the request of procurement organizations clear and definite, suppliers are bound to meet the ISO9001 as the minimum expectation if they are requested. Since there is no specific definition on product standard and quality requirements, how can we expect suppliers to produce excellent product conforming to our personal mind? Therefore, if there is a need for some normative management table to present or communicate requirements, then it should be formulated and implemented. To quote a proverb, “if own house is not cleaned up, how can we clean for suppliers?”

2.强化采购方内部的沟通Reinforce Communication in Purchasing Organizations


If it is necessary to set up independent communication window with suppliers, it should be made clear and told to suppliers. Not only cannot we let suppliers to suppose which one is the right contact window, but we also cannot make suppliers to find a well-related “in-side friend or leader” with good relationship at random, as it will do harm to other people as well as suppliers themselves. The common phenomenon is that suppliers resort to buyers or technical representatives to help explain, or hand it over to other staffs of procurement organization, yet a phenomenon of “passing on microphones” will appear more often than not, which implies that the requirements and/or questions are weakened or even deformed. To explain, the one who put forward a question from suppliers’ aspect at first may not be salesman or technician— they merely pass on the message on behalf on the company from suppliers.


The responsibility and authorization of procurement needs explicit illustration and definition as well, which resonates with the experiences of a procurement professional. He mentioned that in a procurement agreement, if it involves some issues, the Party B (supplier) are supposed to contact Party A (purchaser). Nevertheless, since it does not mention which type of representatives from which department of Party A should be contacted, the Party B can also communicate with the reception of the Party A without breaking the procurement contract. Once a technical department of one company employed an intern who got more and more works as time goes by. Thus, he later approved a technical change in product verbally, giving rise to complaint in the market afterwards (About one year later). However, the interns had finished his internship and left the company, only those who were still on-board can take the responsibility. In a word, clear communication within the company is of vital importance.

3.多渠道沟通规则和需求Communicate Rules and Requirements to Suppliers Through Multiple Channels.


Supplier management is by no means an issue that can be achieved overnight. Similarly, passing requirements from purchasers to suppliers cannot be accomplished at once or commanded immediately since it is of no use pumping a dry well. Conversely, it requires multiple channels for more communication. In this aspect, education on children has something to refer: it is the repeated enhanced education and influence of parents rather than a superior kindergarten that will change the behavior of children.

从采购方的管理层,需要树立在公司内部建立流程的理念,在同供应商的管理层进行战略上的沟通时需要强化这些要求的宣导,比如供应商大会,定期或不定期的拜访或评审会议。采购方的中层和基层执行人员在推行或执行这些要求时尽量含括供应商端的对应的执行人员及相关应该被告知的人员,避免经由供应商的某个HUB 再去传递述求。

In terms of the purchaser management layer, it needs to build concepts of process that should be established inside the company. When communicating with management level of suppliers on strategies, it is necessary to reinforce the promotion of these requirements such as supplier conferences, regular or irregular visit or review meetings. When the middle or operational level staffs implement or execute these requirements, they should include counterpart operational staffs of suppliers and relevant ones that should be told as far as possible so as to avoid give request via certain HUB of suppliers.

同时这些中层和基层的执行代表应该反向向采购方的管理层进行总结汇报,看看哪些要求执行起来有难度,供应商和自己有何种建议可以来优化。如此一来,形成一个PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act)的良性循环来推动要求的落实。

Meanwhile, those executive representatives of middle and basic level ought to make a summary and report to the management level of purchasing organization in reverse so that they can find out which requirements may be difficult to carry out, and which suggestion can be inspired by suppliers and staffs to optimize the situation. Thus, a practical PDCA(Plan-Do-Check-Act) circle will be formed to propel implementation of requirements.


If we start to measure, and then amend the process with deviation in execution on this basis, the result of pushing forward management of suppliers will become better and better.



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