What Do the Suppliers Supply?
I recently made a lightening-quick trip through Asia to personally meet some Grupo Salinas suppliers. During my trip, I had the opportunity to see the current state of industry on the other side of the world. Some of the things that make for valuable lessons for industry and commerce in our country are worth pointing out.
In normal times —and even more so in times of crisis— it’s fundamental for companies to establish competitive advantages on all possible fronts. One of the most important of these is their relationship with their suppliers.
When we began the business of importing Korean electronic equipment in 1986, Seoul was definitely not a city you would want to visit. Only three decades ago, Asian countries like South Korea were less developed than Mexico.
Today, things are very different (high-speed trains, bridges with cutting-edge engineering, ultramodern buildings, etc), and in that same period in Mexico, we haven’t even been capable of coming to an agreement on a truly self-sustainable development model. And this, by the way, has nothing to do with raising taxes (see for example What the Government Spends Affects You
Some of the best suppliers of electronic equipment in the world are currently in Asia. The entire production process is thought out to the last detail.
From the time they start operations, our suppliers invest millions of dollars in researching and developing their products to offer the optimum value to consumers. Later, they build the physical facilities to bring their creations to life.
All these investments, often billions of dollars, are made long before seeing a penny of return for their effort.
One thing that’s worth noting is that the best electronic equipment and major appliance suppliers are from countries that don’t have many natural resources. This happens very often around the world, and we can conclude from it that there is no wealth greater than human capital.
That’s why our suppliers also invest a lot in developing their employees. Today’s constant technological innovations mean that training must be continuous.
In the end, offering the most innovative products is an infallible way of continuing to attract customers to our businesses. Excellent communication must be maintained with our suppliers to be able to explain clearly to them what the customer needs. (I’ll write an entry about the customer, our reason for being, soon.)
Though my trip to Asia was brief, it was successful for keeping us on the cutting edge. Good suppliers can radically set us apart us from the competition, and strengthening our relationship with them solidifies this advantage.