We mentioned in our previous post the long-term business benefits of a VMI partnership: a leaner supply chain, possible expansion into new markets, and a trusted partnership with your VMI provider. To reap these benefits, it’s critical that you and your VMI partner have an open discussion about your overall goals for the partnership.
Below is the second half of our list, 10 Things to Ask Your VMI Partner, to ensure that you capitalize on all the benefits a VMI partnership can offer:
- What plan do you have in mind?
Between Kanban, Two Bin, Min/Max, JIT, and more, there are a multitude of VMI options. Be sure that you have visibility into how your partner is planning the orders so that you can develop your own schedule for ordering, receiving, and in-transit parts and products. Understanding your partner’s process will help you with your own planning.
- Could we collaborate with other divisions of the supply chain?
As we’ve mentioned before, VMI partnerships can be beneficial relationships for all involved. If you or your partner spots an opportunity to collaborate with other divisions and slim down the supply chain, everyone within the pipeline will benefit. VMI can streamline all of the moving parts in the inventory management process.
- Do you use web-based tools for real-time monitoring?
In part one of this list, we talked about balancing cost-efficiency with labor-efficiency. One of the greatest benefits of VMI is the ability to eliminate tedious manual inventory checks by receiving real-time automated alerts. Be sure to work with a supplier that leverages the technology to monitor these real-time inventory changes. An automated system will also help you to consolidate the paper trail of invoices and purchase orders.
- What’s the reaction?
Using real-time inventory monitoring, you should be able to generate custom reports highlighting details such as value added from the VMI partnership. This feature instantly provides a baseline comparison to react to how the program is performing.
- Is there a process for continual improvement?
Similar to what we said above about generating reports, it is critical that you develop a set of metrics to analyze your VMI program. While VMI can lead to anecdotal benefits such as better customer service, you’ll want hard data to evaluate your process and identify opportunities for improvement moving forward. Over time, the vendor a customer can share planning data to achieve complete system integration.
We hope that you’ve found this list of questions helpful as you begin to explore options for your VMI solution. At Assembly Fasteners Inc (AFI), we have more than 30 years of experience and client success with our customizable VMI software. To learn more about what VMI option is right for you, please download our eBook or contact AFI.