eProcurement: GlaxoSmithKline's Secret To Managing The Supply Chain

May 21, 2005
Editor's Note: On May 17-19 IndustryWeek held its Best Plants Conference in Nashville recognizing the 10 IW Best Plants of 2004. This article is based on a presentation given at the conference.  You might also be interested in Maintenance Steps Into ...

Editor's Note: On May 17-19 IndustryWeek held its Best Plants Conference in Nashville recognizing the 10 IW Best Plants of 2004. This article is based on a presentation given at the conference. You might also be interested in Maintenance Steps Into Leading Role In Rockwell Automatic's Power Lean and Quality Is What The Customer Says Is Quality.

Is it possible to ask 13,000 suppliers to register for an on-line bidding process? Just ask R. Gregg Brandyberry, vice president, procurement global systems and operations, GlaxoSmithKline. Realizing that on-line auctions and sealed bidding would become the future method of conducting business with a global network of suppliers, GlaxoSmithKline was one of the first to adopt this practice.

And it has paid off. Brandyberry was seeing a respectable 8% cost savings in his supply chain but it just about doubled to 15% when he moved his suppliers to this on-line system. And these savings drop right to the bottom line.

Brandyberry expressed his admiration for this system from a philosophical perspective as well, "It provides a "free market" environment in many places where the economic model doesn't currently support this type of commerce. We are encouraging suppliers all over the world to jump on our network and offer their services. Everyone has a chance to secure a contract."

In addition, Brandyberry sees other advantages to the suppliers such as specification rigor that is used to ask for bids, transparency in the supply chain and even a more ethical process. Brandyberry explains, "As all suppliers have equal access to this process, it is a very pure form of commerce that has no room for special considerations."

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About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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