Kate, Mike and Karl are really gifted people: smart, knowledgeable and experts in the Supply Chain. Since we share many clients in common, I see the book on many desks. The concepts and methods described in the book will be embraced by many in the field, and that will be a good thing. The concepts get to the heart of the complaints I hear from my clients about the way they are treated by their customers, and the problems that spring from it.
The key point appears in some form on page 101, third paragraph. It is “…let suppliers help solve the problems. In many cases they know what you do not know that you do not know.” Confusing grammar aside, this is really brilliant and gets to the part that most third party logistics owners and principals miss in the business development process. In the end, all outsourced labors are consulting gigs, and all the principals are consultants, whether they want to be called that or not. It doesn’t matter whether a service provider has millions of square feet of warehouse space and hundreds of trucks and trailers. The value they add is not in the labor they do, but the expertise they bring to the table.
One of the best salespeople I have ever known, Bill Brooks (now deceased), said something that fits here. He said: “Price is only important in the absence of value.” If you read the message behind the message in “Vested Outsourcing”, it is that outsourced suppliers only bring value when they translate their value to the company that outsources. If the third party provider doesn’t make that case, do the homework and create the partnership, they are doomed to low priced, low margin business that in the end only frustrates them and their customers.