The three Cs of strong supply chains
Updated September 11, 2023
By Heath Hazard | VP of Sales
By Heath Hazard | VP of Sales
Strategic partnerships are the cornerstone of a healthy supply chain. Three pillars support these partnerships, and I call them The Three Cs.
1. COMMITMENT – both sides must commit to the process. Our businesses are evolving and our processes have to follow suit. Having champions who can help this process move forward ensures all stakeholders understand WHY changes are happening.
2. The second C is CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT – seldom is the bullseye hit on the first throw. Everyone must stay focused on the goal and ‘adjust the sail’ along the way. Through various review meetings and kaizen events, you can continue to dial in and accelerate the success of the program.
3. And finally, the third C is COMMUNICATION. The key to any partnership, or perhaps relationship in general, is a constant and clear line of communication.
When Fastenal consults with clients on goals and inventory, we hear some common themes – people want less inventory in their facility, they want fewer touches, and they want to reduce their total spend.
Many realize that change is part of the solution, but where do you begin?
COMMITMENT: Know your goals
Talk with those on your team who will champion the overall drive for a better supply chain. Ask them what the goals need to be in order to see results on your side. Stock less? Spend less? Make more?
If your goal is to stock less, consider this. Fastenal’s local supply chain takes the risk out of inventory reduction. Product is stocked in a nearby Fastenal branch and a regional distribution center to anticipate your needs, and our logistics fleet and local personnel ensure consistent delivery and replenishment to maintain your targeted inventory levels. Leverage our local infrastructure to reduce your cash outlay and risk.
Perhaps your goal is to spend less. Staying too focused on piece price can lead to complexity, risk, and ironically, a higher overall spend. It's important to tackle cost from all angles – vendor consolidation, SKU rationalization, product substitutions, freight reduction, and controls on rogue purchasing and consumption. With this 360-degree approach, piece price becomes one part of a much larger solution.
Or maybe your goal is to increase output. It’s a supplier’s job to help you increase production without adding capacity. We do this by providing solutions that automate processes and eliminate delays, touches, waste, and steps (of both the literal and figurative kind). By ensuring perpetual inventory at the point of use, we help your business make more – more product, more revenue, more profit.
A supply chain partner needs to commit to your goals. You already committed to them internally, now you need a strategic partner to do the same.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: Find opportunities
No system is perfect. Having people in place who understand that and want to create a better future state is paramount to the success of a strategic partnership. Some common challenges we uncover are listed here, but it might be more accurate to think of them as guides for improvement. Each can be an opportunity for progressing toward a stronger future supply chain.
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.
These areas are where continuous improvement can help build a better way of doing things. A supply chain partner can help you by offering the services of experts who are trained in finding more efficient ways of doing work.
COMMUNICATION: Shared vision
A supply chain partner should be just that, a partner. In a partnership, both sides win. The goal needs to be a solution as unique as your business.
As a supply chain solutions provider for thousands of companies, we understand the common challenges and best practices, but nobody knows your operation better than you. That’s why our approach is to listen, collaborate, and scale a solution that aligns with your goals.
We can help you create your ideal supply chain. Less inventory? Reduced paperwork? Better productivity? All it takes is The Three Cs.
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If you are interested in engaging with someone to challenge your existing supply chain, just reach out to me at
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