The Peril of One: Architecting a Sourcing Strategy at Edwards Paper Co.
This decision case focuses on a consumer products company, Edwards Paper Company (EdCo), as it redesigns its supply chain for poly-wrap. In response to environmental and corporate changes, EdCo sought greater efficiencies by reducing the number of poly-wrap suppliers from 10 to 1. The case offers students the information used by the consumer products company to reach its decision to move to a single-source strategy. The case provides an opportunity for students to grapple with the benefits and risks of single sourcing both in the short- and long-term. The case emphasizes the need for a dynamic alignment with strategy regardless of metrics developed and utilized. Students should see how EdCo’s change from a commercial, low-cost provider led them to a cost-cutting strategy which aligns well with an entrenched, single-source supplier also focused on cost cutting. However, as EdCo’s strategy evolves and as innovations in poly-wrap technology begin to emerge, prior approaches may require adjusting.
- Compare the benefits and pitfalls of a single source strategy.
- Apply basic supply chain frameworks, and understand how they can facilitate or might underappreciate issues related to the alignment of strategy, tactics, and operations. (An example of supply chain frameworks is discussed as an answer to Question 10, below.)
- Analyze how changes in strategy affect supply chain relationships and expectations.
- Identify what the current sourcing strategy offers in contrast to new solutions to solving the dilemma.