Image is Everything
Building a successful brand isn’t easy. Coke, Google and Apple, for instance, didn’t become household names overnight. It took a lot of time and resources to craft their images. But as an interesting article that recently ran in the Wall Street Journal illustrates, all that hard work can be wiped out in a matter of minutes. The article looks at another iconic brand – Wal-Mart – which is taking steps to protect its image by more tightly managing its suppliers.
What do suppliers have to do with branding? As companies from Nike to Johnson & Johnson and Samsung have learned, everything. Left unchecked, suppliers can create significant risk through their actions that can ultimately affect the brand image of their trading partners, along with their performance and profits.
As outsourcing, consolidation and globalization continue, supply risk is growing as a significant source of overall business risk. In today’s global economy where companies source products and services outside their national borders to leverage innovation and economy of scale, companies need total visibility into their supplier information alongside sophisticated analysis and data sharing that are beyond the reach of traditional Sourcing and Supplier management.
And they’re gaining it through business networks.
Just as consumers use social networks and tools to manage their personal relationships and activities such as shopping, banking, bill paying, etc., leading edge companies are tapping into business networks to syndicate supplier information and use predictive intelligence to uncover risks in their supply chain.
When combined with modern-day social information sharing tools like community based references, risk scores from ratings firms such as Dun & Bradstreet and third-party sources, the arduous task of managing suppliers and minimizing supply chain risks becomes more proactive, providing complete visibility to all aspects of a supplier’s organization.
With a 360 degree visibility to supplier information and performance, companies can effectively minimize brand and reputational risk, which can be more catastrophic than just lost revenue caused by not having the right products in the shelves. In my next post, I’ll outline some steps that companies can take to gain this visibility.