Closing the Loop


Consider this Buyers Guide to be Kevin Bacon. The ubiquitous actor, so the theory goes, can be linked to any other actor, living or dead, through no more than six degrees of separation.

Likewise, think of this annual guide as a network you hold in your hands. Each and every one of the contacts listed here is a door to potential opportunities for your business and your supply chain.

Within these pages youll find a directory to more than 600 companies offering a diverse range of products and services you can use to make your supply chain move faster and more efficiently, to improve product quality and lower costs and to make your customers happy.

Are you a retailer trying to improve your product development processes? Weve got PLM providers galore. Do you want to improve your customer relations? Ditto for the CRM providers. Are you looking for logistics companies that can move and consolidate your freight? See the Services section. And there is much more. Fabrics and trims? Check. RFID solutions? Check. Materials handling equipment? Check.

To make this resource work for you, think about how you might close the connection points that are those six degrees of separation in your supply chain.

Consider that the company you contact for virtual merchandising solutions may also be your entre to a retailer that is a perfect fit for your brand. Or maybe you are a retailer looking for creative new product. A call to a yarn spinner or fabric provider may lead you to a collaborative project with a brand new supply chain producing your unique private label performance apparel.

Lets face it: Technology has turned information into a commodity like sugar or corn. Success in todays economy hinges on the ability to sift through masses of information efficiently and organize the crucial pieces in creative and effective ways that make your business model stand apart from the rest.

Prospering in todays global economy requires that companies keep up with and even initiate constant change, whether by designing more streamlined and transparent supply chains or by creating products and services that satisfy needs and desires that consumers dont even know they have yet. Preferably both.

Its a tall order, and it can be accomplished by staying on top of your game. That means keeping up with technology that can improve your business operations, eliminating redundant processes and thereby freeing up time for true innovation.

So, ask not what your suppliers can do for you. Ask what else they can do for you. And figure out what you can do for them. Youll be surprised to see the doors open.

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