Leansourcing’s the way to go for the wholesale trade

Traditionally the supply chain that services, maintains and disposes of retail technology has been serviced in two ways: outsourced to a third party; or insourced to a stand-alone team.

With the UK once again in recession and businesses looking to strip waste wherever possible, outsourcing often seems like the logical option. However, I believe it is too often based on short-term benefits such as cost reduction, with no assessment of the long-term impact of the decision.

The same principles apply to insourcing, which may seem like a quick fix in the short term, but ultimately ties up valuable staff resource, which could be focused on other core business critical tasks.

The rapidly changing world of technology has led to a huge increase in the complexity of the supply chain, with a variety of technology, business models and technical infrastructure to manage.  

In wholesale distribution there is a critical need for insight into what is happening across the supply chain. It is the need for visibility, agility and centralised management control.

I fear that the increasingly complex supply chain means that wholesale businesses are not equipped to react to and work within the larger supply chain and manage their own in an efficient manner.
The answer is an approach which takes the core principles of lean manufacturing and applies it to the supply chain.

The issue with the traditional outsourced supply chain model is that with multiple suppliers come multiple opportunities for disconnects. For example if one outsourced supplier is waiting on parts delivery with which to repair an item, and the delivery is delayed, they will not only fail to meet their service level agreement, but also the wholesale business’ end customer may also be impacted by equipment down-time.

The sheer labyrinthine size of the traditional supply chain model has left the industry fragmented and confused with little or no accountability.

By implementing a complete end-to-end solution which incorporates a single point of contact for service, repair and disposal, the time-span for this process is reduced.  Not only is the potential for delays and disconnects removed, but the “blame culture” which can often form part and parcel of these supplier infrastructures is eliminated.

The leansource approach reduces costs associated with the service, maintenance and disposal of parts within the supply chain. The reduction of the number of suppliers means that costs are in turn reduced.
The leansource approach also increases the level of responsibility the supplier has for a client company and as they are responsible for all aspects of the service supply chain will provide the best solutions available rather than the cheapest or quickest.

Leansource provides the key to successful supply chain management for wholesale businesses long-term. The approach eliminates waste and improves service and radically changes the mentality that is applied in the typical supply chain – allowing wholesalers to put customers at the heart of the service, adding value to their service supply chains and enabling them to rise above the competition.  

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