Competitive Advantage in the Supply Chain

44% of private sector companies with Business Continuity Plans are deriving a commercial competitive advantage. Are you?

These are the findings of the Chartered Management Institute’s 2013 annual survey of its members on Business Continuity. On the face of it, it’s a surprising statement given how challenging businesses can find this process. Even just knowing where to begin leaves many deciding it’s too big a subject to tackle.

Increasingly it is rising up the business agenda, largely propelled by commercial drivers within supply chain and contract requirements. Whether you are a multi-national business dealing with major infrastructure projects or a small business with 10 employees providing a tree management service to a power company, it is likely to be on the table.

I recently met Company A, a successful business with a great product; they can literally turn on orders and revenue at the ‘click’ of a mouse. But through a focus on streamlining their operation and cash flow, they had left themselves with a single point of failure in a contract manufacturer (Company B). What’s even worse, the single point of failure had already caused a couple of wobbles that had hit their bottom line.

So let’s say Company A are approached by Company C. Company C have highly resilient processes and robust continuity arrangements that are integral to their sales approach by identifying potential customer ‘continuity of supply’ requirements. How much would it take for them to unseat Company B? Probably very little. And what’s more they could probably carry a premium on the pricing too!

And of course, the flip side of this is that it can also be a powerful process of building stronger bonds with existing customers by the same means!

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