Insights from Lisa Shambro of Foundation for Strategic Sourcing (F4SS)

On May 13, 2014 PacMoore Products had the privilege of hosting Lisa Shambro (Executive Director of the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing) for a visit. PacMoore recently joined F4SS in January so Lisa’s visit allowed her to present an F4SS overview presentation and findings from a recent market study. Not only did this provide an increased understanding of F4SS for a broader audience at PacMoore, but it also provided Lisa with a better understanding of PacMoore and our capabilities as well.

The overview presentation focused on the F4SS customer/supplier teams (benchmarking & networking, continuous improvement, integrated replenishment, quality driven results, sustainability, value creation, and trust & collaboration) while also covering annual conferences, membership makeup, and membership resources.

One of the unique areas of impact F4SS has is fostering trust between its customer and supplier members, primarily driven by the Trust and Collaboration team. As Lisa explained, “The reason this team was formed is that we conducted a visioning exercise shortly after we started and asked, ‘What is the biggest barrier to achieving our vision?’ The answer was trust and collaboration.” Some primary benefits this team has provided include a commercial terms template for two-way contract terms, guidance and governance for strategic planning between customers and suppliers, and an alignment measurement tool to level set where a customer and supplier stand before their strategic work begins.

F4SS is also passionate about continuous improvement which led to the formation of another customer/supplier team called the Continuous Improvement Network, modeled after Honda’s Lean Network. According to Lisa, “Honda’s network is a ‘one-to-many’ execution. So it’s from Honda to all of their suppliers. Ours is a ‘many-to-many’, so it’s all of our customers to all of our suppliers. The results have been terrific.” The network is a forum for benchmarking as well as training and leadership development using continuous improvement and lean manufacturing as a platform. Each year, two one-and-a-half-day events are held and each one has a theme. There are presentations on each theme, and all participants bring best-developed practices to discuss and share.

Following the overview presentation, Lisa shared findings from a recent market study that included both qualitative and quantitative research. The general headline was that there is more and more outsourcing being conducted in the industry. Why customers outsource their production varies significantly and the degree to which they do so varies significantly. Inputs to these decisions include the situation, brand, category, and need. Lisa also pointed out the fact that needs and wants for every customer are different, which is challenging as a supplier because you can’t say, “I’m going to go down this particular path that will serve this broad group of customers.” It’s more about, “how do I serve more of their needs more often?”

We thank Lisa for taking the time to visit us. PacMoore is excited about our relationship with F4SS, not only for how it can accelerate our growth in food contract manufacturing but also for the positive impact we can have in making this growing industry better as well.