Harley helps Suppliers, and even Competitors


JS Online:Toyota's relationship with vendors is an important link in its success

Here is a really nice column written by the CEO of a Harley Davidson supplier who sings the praises of Toyota's model of supply chain cooperation. This is something that most companies still don't understand, that you can't just beat up on your suppliers, demanding price reductions and threatening to jump to a supplier who is pennies cheaper. Chrysler moved away from supplier cooperation after Daimler Benz took them over. GM still beats up on suppliers, and I would assume Ford still does. If I'm wrong on that, let me know. I would love to be corrected on that.

“A Harley expert recently came to Serigraph, free of charge, to teach us more about lean manufacturing. I was astounded to learn when he went to work on a part for a Harley competitor.

He didn't care that it was a competitor's part he was improving, because it improved the process for Harley parts as well. He helped our company become a better vendor.”

Many more great tidbits are in the column, check it out. I appreciate that the CEO would share his experiences. I hope other CEO's will pay attention, in Wisconsin and beyond.

Final question — has anyone ever caught GM helping JCI working on a Ford product? I doubt it. Do you want GM teaching you lean, anyway??

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. Jon Miller says

    Very nice article. Great find.

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