‘Partnering’ is an increasingly important feature of supply chain relationships and strategies. While the term is often applied in buyer-supplier relationships, you might find it helpful to focus your thinking on the wider potential for supply chain innovation through network alliances. One example (from early 2013) is the alliance between pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and mobile telecom Vodafone: using cellphones to improve communication of supply and demand for vaccines in rural areas of Mozambique – ‘a test of a new supply chain approach in difficult conditions’. The alliance aims to boost vaccination rates by up to 10%, with clinics receiving regular prompts telling them to report vaccine stock levels by SMS text message. ‘GSK hopes that by improving supply chain transparency it can be more responsive, delivering vaccines where they are needed, when they are needed.’
Meanwhile, Vodafone is already using the mobile supply chain tool to track stocks of anti-malarial drugs at 5,000 clinics in Tanzania as part of a partnership with Novartis – so this is also a case study for the innovative use of technology in challenging supply settings.
GSK won two European Supply Chain awards in 2013: a great case study for supply chain transformation. For more, see articles such as: