Paragon talks Supply Chain Management tactics
Paragon, a European print management business, responsible for more than 1,100 employees, based at numerous manufacturing sites across four countries. Procurement Manager Tony Green explains how supply chain management is integral to the way that Paragon works, and that it is essential in a business which operates in a global market to change and adapt in order to meet with the increasing demands of customers, which often rely on the supply of items outside of the businesses core offering.
Management of the supply chain is an essential part of business strategy, particularly when you are responsible for a range of products that are to be delivered to multiple sites, which are not always manufactured in-house.
When customers have multiple site operations and the need for thousands of products, which have to maintain brand consistency from one item to the other, the integrity of the supply chain comes into question; will all chosen suppliers deliver the goods on time and to the specification required?
“For businesses like ours, which face economical demands, alongside logistics and turn-around times, more than ever a robust supply chain management system is imperative,” Green said. “As the UK market becomes more competitive, an increasing number of companies are faced with the challenge of sourcing from multiple suppliers in a range of countries in order to spread risk, maintain competitive advantage and retain commercial viability.”
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Green believes that supply chain and procurement need to be considered a specialism within a business, and that those working within the division should be tasked with the ongoing monitoring and development of relationships that a company has in place with suppliers throughout the world.
“This will allow a business to leverage cost advantages and meet with strict timescales that are often involved with global and multi-site contracts,” Green explained. “Particularly in print, it is evident that those who dismiss the power of procurement are learning a very harsh lesson from their mistakes. It is not good enough to simply rely on those you have used in the past, who offer you a cut down price.
“You have to understand their business, what drivers they are facing and the risks involved with partnering with that company.”
Over recent years the trend of multiple sources and single sourcing has shifted. With economic conditions deteriorating throughout the world, this has meant that in order to reduce risk companies have to consider using multiple suppliers.
“On that basis, although it means more work for the procurement team, it means that we can better determine that a contingency will be in place should the worst case scenario happen, which in our instance would be a supplier going out of business,” Green said.
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