Supplier Development (with Muddassir Ahmed)

00:08 Introduction
00:27 Muddassir, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background and your role at Bridgestone?
01:26 What have you observed in the relationships that supply chain practitioners have with their suppliers?
03:30 Businesses can be incredibly reliant on their suppliers. What sort of problems can arise within a supply chain due to this reliance?
05:17 What are the strategies that businesses can take in order to minimise the issues that can occur with suppliers?
07:38 What are the benefits of vertical integration?
09:48 The lines are becoming more and more blurred between what is a competitor and what is a supplier. Is this something that benefits all parties?
12:24 How about the deviation in delivery lead time? How can we ensure suppliers are more consistent?
15:33 What about sharing forecasts with the suppliers? How well does this work?
18:23 Why is developing relationships with suppliers so important?
19:08 What can a company do in order to extract the maximum value from the relationship with its suppliers?


A competent and capable network of suppliers is a critical ingredient of the supply chain performance. In this episode, we are joined by Muddassir Ahmed (Regional Planning & Operations Manager at Bridgestone) to discuss how both parties can extract maximum value from these relationships and what companies can do to maintain and build solid relationships with their suppliers.

Muddassir is MEA Regional Planning and Operations Manager for Bridgestone and author of the blog “The SCM Dojo”. He has over 8 years of senior leadership experience in developing and implementing supply chain strategy, which is a subject he teaches at various universities.

Overall, we can say that over the past two decades, the lines have blurred and it’s more tricky to see who is a client, a supplier or a competitor. For verticals such as fashion and consumer electronics, the advent of ecommerce has changed many things - now, suppliers can quickly become competitors or allies.

On the other hand, certain industries go completely the opposite way, using gigantic market platforms such as Alibaba, which offer vast catalogs of items but often provide much less knowledge about suppliers. However, it’s difficult to generalise supplier relationships as industries diverge greatly, for example aerospace, fresh food and luxury all behave very differently when it comes to their suppliers.

To bring this episode to a close, we discuss in more detail the problematics of prolonged lead times, considering that supply chains are becoming more and more international, and especially what businesses can do to be less dependent on their suppliers. This is a vital issue that the Covid-19 crisis has made many companies acutely aware of recently. For example, many have turned to stockpiling as a possible solution, which is not always the best answer.