Initial supplier contact is very critical to the success of the alliance. Senior management will play the key roll initializing the process both internally and externally. Having formed the team (see the box "Who’s on Your Team?" on page 9), determine a list of potential issues to explore with the supplier. Again, input from your senior management will be required. The team or team leader of the purchasing organization should meet with counterparts at the supplier organization. The objective is to gain support and resources as they move into the next desired action: contact with the supplier. As a matter of fact, the senior manager can speak to the benefits of bringing the two organizations together in the broad sense. The team, when they meet, will focus on operational, tactical, and perhaps some strategic issues. Depending on the supplier size, product type, and level of sophistication, the supplier may require some assistance in forming the team, identifying issues, and setting expectations.
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