Where for are thou Supplier Recovery?
I just got off the phone with Allison Griffiths who organizes and manages the Warranty Chain Management (WCM) conference which will take place in two weeks outside San Diego. I asked her during our chat what tracks at the conference this year address Supplier Recovery. We've seen some activity on this lately and wanted to make sure that I found out what was the latest in process and technology in this critical area. The answer to my question is just one track which will be presented by Volvo. Pretty thin if you are looking for the latest and greatest. No vendors with exciting tools for this challenging area and no industry 'gurus' pontificating on how to improve performance.
So why is that?
Supplier recovery is acknowledged by most industry analysts as the one capability in the Warranty Value Chain that has the worst performance. We have studies presented in great detail on how to reduce warranty claims costs and how to apply product quality analytics to warranty claims data, but very little on supplier recovery. If I were to call up one of our clients or prospects and ask them to let me speak to whoever is in charge of Supplier Recovery, I bet that half would say Procurement and the other half would say Product Quality. How you staff a capability or function will reveal its importance to the company. For neither of these groups (product quality or procurement) is supplier recovery the primary reason for their existence and I wonder how they are measured on success.
So, why is it that a functional area that has had limited success historically is so belittled in its staffing model. Why is it that of all the vendors attending the WCM conference, and there are quite a few, there does not appear to be one that is addressing this critical capability? To tell you the truth, I don't know the answer as I write this, but it will be interesting to learn over the coming months why this is. I will probably raise this as a topic with some of the professionals I meet at WCM in two weeks.