From the Six Sigma Blog, an article about Solectron preaching lean to its supply base. You have to hope with these kind of events that it's “do as I say AND do as I do.”
In 2001, I attended a supplier conference run by a major semiconductor equipment maker. They were, of course, preaching lean. During the breaks, it was funny overhearing the suppliers bitching to each other over cigarettes (funny because I was there as a consultant/speaker, not as a supplier).
/the supplier reps all complained along these lines: “Sure, you preach lean and low inventory now. What about two years ago when you told us to pile up inventory and promised to buy it, and then you never released the P.O.'s that you promised, sticking us with the inventory???” “Lean” was the last thing the suppliers wanted to hear, being preached to about how to run their businesses. They were still draining down inventories (or scrapping it as obsolete, the way product cycles go in that industry).
The semiconductor equipment maker certainly hadn't built up any trust with its supply base coming into that meeting. Looking at Ford's most recent “supplier cooperation” initiative, do they have a similar resentment built up int heir supply base?
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