Using Supply Chain Analysis to Attract and Retain Businesses



By Leigh Howe, Applied Marketing

One of the best ways for communities to grow the regional economy, increase wages, and create new jobs is to support supply chain development. There are three legs to the cluster development stool – talent, innovation, and supply chain. Manufacturers rely on raw materials, components, and parts, as well as services to deliver products to customers in a timely and profitable manner. What are these materials, products, and services? How would employers benefit from suppliers locating near them? Which specific industries and companies should be targeted for greater supply chain cohesiveness?

Through a supply chain survey and analysis, top industries and companies can be identified to fill regional gaps and help regional employers succeed. This can feed directly into a business development strategy to reach out to companies that are a good fit for the local economy. It can also be used in your BRE program to help existing companies expand.

Applied Marketing’s process for supply chain targeting:

  • Survey regional companies on supply chain and procurement needs.  The survey questions concentrate on information needed to create a profile of supplier types used by existing industries.  An electronic survey format, such as SurveyMonkey, can be used for measurement and analysis purposes.  However, many companies will require a telephone call to walk through the survey.
  • Develop communications to inform and engage regional target industries in the project and encourage company participation. Distribute communications through appropriate channels (traditional media, email, social media).
  • Survey 30-40 targeted regional companies.
  • Compile answers to the survey questions, such as types of suppliers used, names of specific suppliers used, and other vital information to understand the supply chain used by existing companies. 
  • Analyze survey information to determine similar products and services used across multiple existing companies or across specific industries. Use this analysis to create a Target Profile of the supplier types, defined by NAICS or key words, and estimate the market size. 
  • Identify supplier type companies that are growing and expanding.  Capture company information like address, web address, product/service summaries, sales, employment, executive contacts, email addresses, and other vital corporate information
  • Make initial contact with targeted supplier companies using the following lead generation and business tactics.
    • Attempt to connect with executives in LinkedIn, using an existing and established client LinkedIn account. 
    • Send direct messages within LinkedIn to connect executives, qualifying the lead for expansion activities and gauging the interest in a discussion.
    • Follow with direct telephone outreach to connected executives and companies, as well as other prioritized companies identified in research.  Determine developing expansion and relocation opportunities. 
    • Integrate leads into your pipeline for further contact and development.

In the BRE program, you can use supply chain information to inform existing companies where they fit into the regional supply chain; thereby, creating more local B2B opportunities. This is especially useful for small businesses trying to do business with larger companies in your region.

Using a supply chain analysis can further refine the targets for business attraction. We often see a community “target” of Advanced Manufacturing. It is hard to focus external marketing dollars on a “target” so broad. The next time you are validating and updating target sectors, include a supply chain analysis to make sure you’re getting into the weeds.

For more information on supply chain analysis, contact our strategic partner, Leigh Howe with Applied Marketing.