Quick, what region of the world is the "toughest place to negotiate and manage" suppliers. On first glance you might think such low-cost locales as India or China, what with rampant corruption, payoffs and such, would take the prize. Or perhaps it might be a place like South Africa or Australia which is so far geographically removed from other large trading countries so as to make relationships difficult. But none of these are correct. If you guessed Europe, you'd be spot on. Tim Minahan recently had the chance to reference some early results from an IACCM survey that found European Spend procurement and supply chain practitioners are located in the most challenging geography for managing their supply base. Need further proof why? According to Tim's write-up of the survey, "when it comes to dealing with suppliers in Europe, government regulation, cost, and long lead-times are [the greatest] ... challenges. (Just try to call a supplier in Spain or Italy over the next two months.)"
Some other early findings from the survey focus on the challenges of "logistics, negotiation and on-time delivery" as the most challenging specific areas for managers. In this regard, "IACCM reports that more than half the survey participants highlighted long shipping leadtimes, burdensome and time-consuming customs procedures, delivery delays, and managing exchange rates among the more challenging issues when managing global supply." This is ironic in my view, since this is precisely where the big name strategic sourcing consulting firms are most likely to come up short in their capabilities. Since the study is a work in progress, you still have time to participate. Those who do will receive a free complimentary copy of the report when it's complete.