By Ricardo Malacara, Mexico Representation
Although it first emerged in the 1950s, outsourcing; the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company’s employees and staff, was first recognized as a mainstream business strategy in 1989 and became an integral part of business economics throughout the 1990s.
As it developed, many companies utilized outsourcing as a cost-cutting measure. It can affect a wide range of jobs, ranging from customer support to manufacturing to the back office. One of the most popular and beneficial outsourcing activities for companies is the sales function.
A lot of ink has been used to explain the benefits that companies get when utilizing a professional sales representation agency. Such benefits include but are not limited to; flexibility, cost savings, extended sales coverage, access to trained sales professionals, cross-selling, etc. However, not much has been said about the customers’ benefits when partnering with a sales agency to improve their supply chain.
- RESEARCH: In today’s busy world, a buyer has many tasks on his plate. Most of them are focused on the day-to-day, important, but not strategic activities, such as assuring supply by expediting late orders, fixing delivery issues, getting suppliers paid, etc. With all of these, there is very little time left to study industry trends and technologies, new suppliers in the marketplace, or search for better pricing. Often, procurement professionals end up buying from the same suppliers due to a lack of a better option. A Professional Sales Agency should always be up to date with industry trends and technologies and typically handles more than one supplier for an industry. By having the support of a sales rep agency, buyers can access new suppliers, better technology, better pricing, and improved components without doing all the research themselves.
- STRATEGY: Everyone knows that a successful procurement professional must be detailed oriented, well organized, and always pending to the fine points. Still, they also need to be aware of the big picture, long-term plans, and supply chain development. A close relationship with a professional sales rep can always help with that part.
- EXECUTION: Like in every part of the business, flawless execution is crucial in the materials management area; getting quotes on time, samples, order delivery, etc. Having the support of a sales representation agency means you could have a local contact to support and manage different suppliers for different business stages.
In conclusion, a professional manufacturers’ sales representative should be viewed and used by materials organizations as an extension to their department. A prepared sales professional can help a prepared procurement agent advance in his or her career by assisting them to be the person with all the answers and the best execution.
Ricardo Malacara has an International Trade undergraduate degree from ITESM with an MBA from Central Michigan University. He has worked for over 20 years in the electronic and mechanical manufacturing areas in Guadalajara. Over these years, his areas of experience have been in operations, sales and materials management. This combination helps him better understand customers’ needs. He has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as startup companies so he understands what it takes to grow and keep a customer.