This Chief Purchasing Officer describes the qualitative and quantitative results, over a two-year period, of the implementation of the GE Work-Out Process in his company with the help of Gagnon Associates :
The Town Meeting Process* has been used within Philips since 1992. I personally used the Process, as delivered by Gagnon Associates, from 1995 to 1997 in the Asia Pacific Region. We used the Process in Asia Pacific to bring greater transparency to our supplier relationships and to support a seamless working method within our Supply Chain. These Town Meetings proved to be a key success factor in our integral approach to Supply Chain Management.
Within two years, we conducted over 20 sessions, giving double-digit % savings from every event. The Town Meeting Process provided a sound return on our investment, but also created a platform for many other improvement projects with suppliers.
The Process helped to increase credibility with suppliers. It engaged them in a process that they could clearly see was conducted on an equal playing field. This equal climate enabled them to bring in their suggestions for areas of improvement and savings, and receive equal attention and support for those suggestions, without having to worry about a typical buyer/seller relationship.
In addition, the Process helped our internal organization to “listen” to our suppliers, and to realize that to achieve savings, there has to be a two-way involvement between supplier and customer. The neutral, third-party role played by Gagnon Associates ensured that we really listened to our suppliers. We had repeated discussions during the course of this work about whether or not we could or should be doing it ourselves. But each time, we came to the conclusion that if we were managing the Process we would not be able to be sure that the supplier would really be as open with us and that we would truly listen to them. Clearly the Process is Relationship Building with suppliers but also stimulates a change process within our own organization.
During the time we worked together, I found Gagnon Associates to be a very proactive, supportive and very professional organization. On those occasions where our need was urgent and required short lead times, they were quick, responsive, and easy to work with. They were results-oriented, a distinctive trait, showing interest in how cost-reduction recommendations are realized by following up after Town Meeting sessions.
I would have no hesitation, both in recommending the services of Gagnon Associates, and in recommending the use of the Town Meeting Process as a key component in an effective supply-base management program.
*The “Town Meeting” Process is Philips’ “brand” name for GE Work-Out.