Manufacturing Procurement Executives Collaborate with Supply Partners at Conference

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Prime Advantage's annual Fall Conference unites executives of medium-sized manufacturing companies with top suppliers in nearly 3,000 one-on-one meetings over three days.

Prime Advantage

Prime Advantage, the leading buying consortium for mid-sized manufacturers, recently concluded its 30th Conference at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, FL. The semi-annual event attracted close to 300 senior operations, procurement and sales professionals representing more than 25 different industries, including commercial food service, packaging, truck and trailer, material handling, food processing and construction. Senior manufacturing executives representing member and endorsed supplier companies participated in nearly 3,000 scheduled one-on-one meetings and attended key sessions on sharing best practices for management, growth, and profitability.

FALL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Prime Advantage’s Fall Conference kicked off with economist Dr. Chris Kuehl, who encourages skepticism of statistics with a significant margin of error, such as the unemployment rate, and embraces more encompassing gauges such as the Employment Trends Index. Dr. Kuehl, the chief economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, told attendees that manufacturing will continue growing, but only if workers acquire adequate skills to perform jobs in the new manufacturing landscape.

Prime Advantage recognized Glenn Ford, Purchasing Manager for Henny Penny Corporation of Eaton, OH with its President’s Award. Each year, Prime Advantage recognizes an executive for his or her innovation and excellence, as well as outstanding service to Prime Advantage.

Main Line Supply of Dayton, Ohio and Grainger Industrial Supply, headquartered in Chicago, IL were honored with the Endorsed Supplier of the Year awards, the highest achievement a Prime Advantage Endorsed Supplier can earn. This award is voted on prior to the Fall Conference by the entire membership of Prime Advantage – more than 750 manufacturers headquartered throughout North America are eligible to vote.

This year’s Purchasing Networking Breakfast, on the topic of “Aligning Supplier Evaluation Systems With Your Company's Overall Strategic Goals”, featured three manufacturing executives that collectively took a strategic look at the supplier evaluation process and structure. Panelist Larry Parah, principal and senior consultant for BlueSkye Track, stressed the importance of Key Performance Questions in determining appropriate metrics for a supplier evaluation system. Then panelist J.K. Raghavan, vice president of operations for Alto-Shaam, highlighted the importance of properly structured scorecards to measure tactical and strategic performance against predetermined metrics, as well as a clear way to formally communicate performance directly with supply chain partners. Lastly, panelist William Renick, president of Xten Industries, gave the supplier’s perspective on metrics, scorecards and communication. Renick said that in the absence of such feedback, be it positive or negative, it is difficult at best to form long-term partnerships between customers and their supply chain partners.

Markus Moll, of the market research firm Steel & Metals Market Research GmbH, updated attendees on the current state of the market in his Metals Outlook breakfast session. Moll said business spending on stainless steel is expected to increase slightly in 2013, but demand will not likely be strong enough to support price increases from producers.

In the Member and Endorsed Supplier Benchmarking Session, participants shared best practices and expertise on six different topics: risks in the supply chain, near-shoring, qualifying higher-value contributions by procurement, managing complex indirect spend categories, and current business challenges.

“We’re very pleased with another successful conference in which we brought together purchasing professionals to collaborate with our endorsed suppliers. Manufacturing executives who attended our Executive Summit, which runs concurrently with our fall conference, were able to address issues ranging from economic forecasts, to techniques for improving your human capital management by identifying the genius in your employees,” said Louise O’Sullivan, founder, president and CEO of Prime Advantage. “The heartbeat of this conference was collaboration: procurement professionals from our member companies working with our endorsed suppliers to maximize supply chain excellence. It’s really about putting the best companies together, and letting them create their own magic.”

Prime Advantage concludes each Fall Conference by distributing rebates earned by member companies based on negotiated programs with its endorsed suppliers. In the past ten years, Prime Advantage has paid more than $130 million in rebates and discounts to its manufacturing industry Members.

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About Prime Advantage
Founded in 1997, Prime Advantage is a buying consortium for manufacturers with more than 750 Members and more than 130 Endorsed Suppliers. For more information on Prime Advantage, visit the website at http://www.primeadvantage.com.

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Pete Wiltjer
Pete Wiltjer Marketing Group, Inc
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