Think like a link: The journey from startup to supply chain mainstay

Think like a linkA small machine shop, a new food startup and a decades-old family-run business are likely to all feel the same way when trying to enter the supply chain of a large corporation for the first time: like they’re facing a blank monolith with no surefire way in.

There’s no magic formula for how to approach a large company, and bookstores have never been in need of more grinning guys with slick-backed hairdos offering their sales pitch advice.

And there is hope in the knowledge that large companies with strong supply chain management practices are always on the lookout for backup suppliers, overflow suppliers and better suppliers.

Even so, missteps can happen.

To gather real lessons learned, rookie mistakes and tactics that recently have worked, Crain’s spoke with buyers and sellers with experience in the automotive, medical device, aerospace and food and beverage industries.

Much of what they had to say could be described as predictable, common-sense ways of conducting business.

And yet, predictable as they may be, these guiding principles escape many, as evidenced by how frequently people forget them and cause headaches for buyers. One buyer said hardly a week goes by without a salesperson walking into his office with an ill-prepared pitch — even missing important details like what the selling company’s revenue is or how many production machines it has. … Full story at

— Crain’s Detroit Business, March 9, 2014 (Copyright control)

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