Sunrise Medical finds sustainability in multi-dimensional vendor management
Rohit Sathe describes what he sees as procurement’s post-pandemic modal shift
For the second part of our series of interviews on sustainability (read the first part here), AIMS International sat down with Rohit Sathe of Sunrise Medical, one of the leading manufacturers of personal mobility products like wheelchairs and motorised scooters. As the Chief Procurement Officer for Sunrise Medical, Sathe is part of the global management team. He’s based in Germany.
“We’ve noticed a transformation in the industry – a new modal shift, as it were,” Sathe kicks off. “There has obviously been an increasing focus on sustainability over the last few years, but the pandemic sped things up significantly. As we’ve come to see, one of the biggest challenges now is the availability of materials – an effect that is still widely in evidence if we look at various sectors of the economy.”
The price is not always right
“If companies continue to chase price as the sole metric, it will put their future at risk.”
Procurement decisions used to be principally price based, with little regard for a product’s provenance, but the world has changed. In Sathe’s view, pricing, sourcing, and corporate responsibility are all important factors. “If companies continue to chase price as the sole metric, it will put their future at risk,” he warns. “By only focusing on the price, one end of the value chain is squeezed. When it’s no longer possible to economise there, another part of the chain will be scrutinised. The value chain slowly deteriorates, until the customer is impacted.”
No-one should be left waiting for – or worse, have to do without – a wheelchair due to problems with parts. Post-pandemic, consumption has surged, impacting material availability and fueling inflation, which is expected to be a concern for the next couple of years. Risk management in the supply chain is now more important than ever. Business leaders must step up and take responsibility.
More balance in the supply chain
While nearshoring has been posited as an answer to the supply chain problems, Sathe isn’t necessarily a fan. “There’s nothing to gain by nearshoring production if it doesn’t ensure reliability, resilience, and consistency.”
If you can handle your average production offshore while managing spikes locally, you’re putting your company ahead of the competition.
The difficulty lies in handling spikes in sales. Balance is key to sustainability. If you can handle your average production offshore while managing spikes locally, you’re putting your company ahead of the competition.
Diversity doesn’t only contribute positively to teams; it can benefit companies when applied to suppliers too. Supplier diversity has always been a feature of American manufacturing, and it is now coming to Europe as more companies recognise its advantages. By keeping your options open, you can manage unforeseen circumstances, allowing you to keep up with demand and ensuring your customers remain satisfied.
Rapid transformation calls for innovative leadership, which companies increasingly recognise represents the difference between survival and success. Thinking outside of the box about risks and emerging opportunities, sharing audacious new ideas and welcoming them from others, setting benchmarks and inspiring those around you to do better every day: these are essential skills in building high-performing teams.
Rapid transformation calls for innovative leadership, which companies increasingly recognise represents the difference between survival and success.
You may be looking to super-charge your C-suite, so that they are up for anything the future brings them. AIMS International can help, whether it’s by finding and securing innovative new thinkers to join your C-suite or by coaching your existing team for high performance.