- Procurement departments are beginning to recognize the value of niche vendors in providing unique and innovative solutions, reported Procurious recently.
- Independent craftsworkers are able to avoid the many layers of management and legal fencing surrounding larger, more widely known suppliers, thereby allowing for improved communication and agility of production.
- With greater control and personalized involvement in production native to niche vendors, the result is often of a greater quality, with easier negotiation and more rapid response than that coming from a large production line.
Different sized vendors offer different sized solutions to the supply chain — it all depends on how much you need, how specialized the thing is that you're looking for and how quickly you need it. Being all things to all buyers, while offering economies of scale, is increasingly futile for procurement. Differentiation is increasingly necessary for the demands of a global economy.
Appropriate sourcing is the best plan, but perhaps the most difficult one to pursue. Production standards make a difference: a big producer can give a buyer either 100 or 1,000 items overnight. If you're selling hand-carved marionettes, chances are your customers are willing to wait for such a specially crafted item.
Procurement professionals who do their homework on what type of sourcing is appropriate for a given situation will stay ahead of the curve, leveraging both the agility of niche vendors as well as the cost-effectiveness of larger ones.