Andrade, Gil F.; Bossert, James L.; Braun, Leo F.; Krahula, Jerry; Lawrimore, Barry; Silver, Ben (1990, ASQC) GTE Gov't Systems; Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, NY; Peko Precision Products; R.G. Ray Corp.; Lawrimore Mgt. & Mfg. Services, Tucker, GA; Babock & Wilcox
The Vendor-Vendee Technical Committee, in commemoration of its 25th anniversary and its evolution into the Customer-Supplier Division, will review the history of this key relationship in the free enterprise based, world economy. This paper/presentation will depict the evolution between customers and suppliers from adversaries to partners. This business connection will be shown as a continuum where progress can truly be made towards partnerships. Present views, philosophies, and practices will be explored as will future trends and ideas we expect to encounter as we enter the decade of the 1990's. As time has passed, we have been witness to an evolutionary cycle involving the way businesses actually interact. In 1965, suppliers were told by their customers exactly what to provide, without exception! Today, we are beginning to ask for each other's ideas and input prior to the start of a project. The future brings about yet other, more progressive practices such as supplier certification, quality function deployment, and benchmarking. A team approach to business will no longer simply consist of internal resources. We have always tried to include our customers in planning our business actions, why not include our suppliers? After all, we are their customers! Business relationships are very similar to personal relationships in that trust seems to be the most important factor in improving them. Trust as often hard to verify. Even the thought of verification implies mistrust. Yet for trust to have merit, it must be based on quantifiable facts. The key elements to initiating and improving successful business relationships include: 1. Management leadership 2. Specific and defined relationships 3. Performance measurements 4. Communications and use of technology 5. Government interaction and involvement. We will discuss each of these elements and how they have evolved over the past quarter of a century and what is in store for business partners during the next decade. In such partnerships all will benefit.