Why your supply chain provider should be putting in the work to know and understand your business

Why Your Supply Chain Provider Should Be Putting in the Work to Know and Understand Your Business

Today is “Get to Know Your Customers Day” – which for our team at Cedric Millar, is everyday.

Our business model is centered on knowing our customers’ business inside and out – and we don’t begin to build a solution until we are sure we understand that business.


Below are just a few reasons why your supply chain provider (think 3PL or 4PL) should be putting in a concerted effort to fully understand your company.

animated business people

To build rapport and trust

Deciding to outsource any part of your business can be a hard decision to make. You have built your business into something you’re proud of; you live and breathe it everyday. No one understands it better than you.  Handing over the reigns of something as important as your supply chain can be difficult. This is why it’s so important for your supply chain provider to put in the time to develop rapport with you and make meaningful efforts to win your trust.

If you can’t trust them – they shouldn’t be supporting your business.

To establish current state

Baseline, base case, whatever you may call it; before you are sold a solution that can address your supply chain “pain points”, your provider better know all of those “pain points” . Long before our engineering work begins, we work to build a ‘current state’ of our customer’s business: what their costs are (including hidden costs), who their providers are, their performance, what their distribution network looks like, where their warehouses are located, and so on…

How can we know what we have to solve, if we don’t understand what the problem is?

To understand the opportunities and constraints

Your potential new supply chain provider may have big dreams about the changes they could bring to your company. But if those changes affect sensitive parts of your business they may not be true solutions.Before a solution is proposed, your supply chain provider needs to understand where the opportunities are, and more importantly, where the constraints lie.Is owning a fleet a requirement? Is moving warehouses an option? Are the number of DC’s you have non-negotiable? These questions should be asked (and answered) early on in the relationship.

To understand your culture

Understanding the nature of your supply chain network is important when developing a solution to solve your “pain points”. Many supply chain providers overlook another important piece of understanding: your culture. If you are planning on integrating an outside company with yours, it is very important that their culture fits with yours.

From the way you manage and treat your employees, to your ethical values, to the way you operate in your community, the way you treat your suppliers: there should be a general alignment between your respective cultures.
The aim is not to be the best of friends with your 4PL (but if that happens – awesome!), but you should have enough similarities that it makes doing business together seamless.

At the end of the day – we are all passionate about our businesses. The companies we partner with to manage portions of our business should understand and echo that passion. Don’t settle for a provider who sells you the dream solution, without first understanding what that dream means for you.


If are interested in learning how a 4PL may benefit your business, send an email to info@cedricmillar.com, or call 1-888-998-1009.


Quality over Quantity. Strategic versus Transactional. Moved by Intelligence.

Get a head start on your number crunching with our free supply chain analysis. We’ll take a look at your data and offer suggestions for cost savings, based on our deep understanding of the Canadian supply chain context.

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