SERVICES > Competitive Edge Supplier Development Program (CESDP)

Program Overview

The Competitive Edge Supplier Development Program is an organization development method that enables businesses, especially small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) to embed organization structure and management systems that meet the integration needs of higher level suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These management systems are of particular interest to higher level suppliers and original equipment manufacturers because they are differentiators that effect the purchasing decisions of these customers.

What does that mean? Procurement officials from a large OEM do not make their purchasing decision based solely on price. The price of a good or service forms only part of the overall review of the potential supplier’s suitability to be part of the supply chain of an OEM. Similarly, having a brand new piece of equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars will not ensure an OEM will be willing to do business with a supplier. OEMs and high level supply chain organizations have a very robust review and assessment process that looks more closely at how your business and equipment are lead and managed, not just that you have a new machine or robot.

Think about it. Imagine a procurement official from a large multi-national aerospace, defence, energy, or high tech manufacturing firm visits your organization to determine if you should supply them with products and services. You take the official out onto your shop floor, and show them the array of your “awesome machines.” As you take the official through your plant, you expound on the capabilities of the machines, how fast they are, how much they cost, how much better the machine works than you’re old machine. You position this machine, or several machines, as THE reason the procurement official should award you that big contract. You use words like: “It’s the only one in (insert City/Region).” You are like a proud parent showing off the talent of their child.

The procurement official politely nods and smiles while you speak. You move on to another machine, and expound how wonderful it its. You think things are going great!


  1. The procurement official really has only a passing interest in your machinery. Your machines form only a minor part of their overall assessment of your capability.
  2. The procurement official has seen your machine before, many times, in many companies, in many countries.
  3. The procurement official already knew you had those machines before they arrived on-site. Large OEM procurement officials do their research. They wouldn’t even be meeting with you unless they knew you had these capabilities.
  4. You keep positioning your “unique value proposition” as your facilities, or your machines. You’re in fact demonstrating to the procurement official that your unique “competitive advantage” is not unique at all. In your case, it becomes clear to the official that your competitive advantage is for sale from your machine suppliers. Your competitive advantage isn’t even yours. Your advantage can be sold to whoever wants to buy it, from your supplier. Maybe the procurement official should recommend the OEM should just buy a machine like yours. Maybe they will do just that.
  5. While you’ve been selling your supplier’s machines, the procurement official has been spending the high majority of time looking around your plant for key differentiators that will demonstrate you are ready to integrate into their supply chain management processes. They are looking for hard evidence that your business is truly structured and managed with excellence. That you’re a real Contender

Are you clearly showing the official these key differentiators?  Do you know what the differentiators are?  Do you know how to clearly demonstrate these differentiators to the official?

You need to “re-think you thinking.” You need Competitive Edge.

The Competitive Edge Supplier Program follows the Deming “Plan-Do-Check-Act” Cycle:

Measure and assess organization key differentiators for gaps between the current state, and the desired/required state of operations. Prioritize and develop action plans to identify the goals and tactics that will be required to close the gaps.

Execute the action plan through appropriate project management methods.

Ensure the plan is on track.

Utilize metrics and management operating systems to correct course as needed. Confirm goals have been met. Celebrate success.

The cycle then begins again.

When a SMB expresses an interest in the Program, CESD Services conducts a briefing to senior management regarding the key elements and requirements of the Program, and how the Program benefits SMBs. We also determine if the organization is best suited for a full environmental review of all eleven key elements/requirements, or, if there is better value in reviewing a core grouping of two to three elements.

Eleven (11) Foundation Process

The Competitive Edge Supplier Development Program assesses organization competency in eleven (11) business management systems. We call these management systems: “Foundation Processes.” They are the key differentiators.

The Eleven Foundation Processes Are:

  1.  Leadership
  2.  Strategic Business Planning
  3.  Project and Risk Management
  4.  Lean and Continuous Improvement
  5.  Make vs. Buy
  6.  Skills Planning and Development
  7.  E-Business
  8.  Innovation
  9.  Collaboration
  10.  Infrastructure / Facilities Management
  11.  Sales and Operations Planning

We define these Foundation Processes in the Following Ways:

A process (system) to build an enduring organization that instills a long term shared sense of purpose, vision, mission & values; and that aligns, focuses, and inspires people to accomplish exceptional outcomes for all stakeholders.
Strategic Business Planning
A process that is dynamic, fact based, comprehensive, inclusive, and grounded in the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) philosophy, that establishes the long term direction, strategies and tactics, and aligns the people and activities of the organization.
Project and Risk Management
Project Management – A process that aligns and coordinates corporate and stakeholder activities and the application of resources to common objectives employing consistent methods to accomplish well defined goals. Risk Management – A process to identify and proactively manage organizational, project, employee, and stakeholder risks and opportunities utilizing proven and established methods.
Lean and Continuous Improvement
A process to build a customer driven continuous improvement culture focused on developing and engaging people by proactively surfacing problems and applying the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) method in the pursuit of process perfection.
Make versus Buy
A process to optimize the strategic value of the organization by understanding & leveraging the core competencies of all stakeholders.
Skills Planning and Development
A process that builds and develops the human capacity, capability and engagement in order to meet the current and future requirements of the organization as defined by the strategic business plan.
A process that utilizes technology to leverage information and information flow, in order to optimize and continuously increase the supply chain’s value as defined by customers and other stakeholders.
A process to continuously learn, seek out, adapt, and implement incremental and breakthrough improvement ideas in products, services, and systems, which increase value for all stakeholders.
A process that facilitates two or more people or organizations to work together in mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships, enabling all stakeholders to realize shared goals.
Infrastructure and Facilities Management
A process to ensure the assets of the organization are sufficient, current, and relevant to support the SBP; and, they are managed to optimize the life cycle value, environmental sustainability, and mitigate all associated risks.
Sales and Operations Planning
A process for decision making that proactively manages supply and demand, integrates financial planning and operational planning, and links high level strategic plans with day to day operations in order to optimize the organizational system for all stakeholders.

Benchmarking Process Overview

Benchmarking occurs via the following process:
  1. Data Collection - One day on-site by one or two assessors to review and capture key data, via meeting with key company leaders that have responsibility for a Foundation Process. We also meet with focus groups of employees to test and gain their perspective of the Foundation Process.
  2. Data Review - Five days off-site for our assessors to review the data, and produce two reports:

    a.  A MS PowerPoint Summary Report

    b. A MS Word Written Report listing the current strengths and opportunities for improvement of each Foundation Process assessed.

    c.  An overall finding of how mature the organization’s Foundation Processes are in comparison to other global suppliers (i.e. your competition).

  3. Report Out – Half a day on-site where the Assessor(s) will share the results of (ii) with your management team.
  4. Priority Setting – Half a day on-site where the Assessor(s) will work with the senior management team to align your strategic goals and the Foundation Processes that are most relevant to those goals.
  5. Action Planning – Half a day on-site where the Assessor(s) will work with you senior management team to populate a goals matrix which will summarize what improvement goals will be made, the projects that will occur to support the goals, who will lead them, and what milestone will be met.

Process Confirmation

Once your company has completed your Action Plan for Foundation Process Improvement, we can complete a Confirmation Review (a Process Confirmation) to confirm that you have achieved your goals.
This activity is similar to a Benchmark; however instead of reviewing all eleven Foundation Processes, we will just review the elements that were part of your Action Plan. The goal of this Confirmation is to obtain direct evidence (physical evidence versus testimonial evidence) of the organizations competency in the Foundation Process. This type of review reflects the audit that Procurement Officials conduct when reviewing potential suppliers.
This review requires one (1) day on-site per Foundation Process confirmed.

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