Topic:The 5-STAR Business Networks
Interviewer: Michael Dresser of The Michael Dresser Show
Interviewee: Vivek Sood of Global Supply Chain Group
(author of The 5-STAR Business Networks)
HERE IS An audio of the interview
Here is the entire transcript of the interview:
Michael Dresser: Welcome back! I’m Michael, you’re listening to the Michael Dresser Show, Vivek Sood with us, the author of the “5-Star Business Network” and the tremendous effect of supply chain in business networking. Social networks are proliferating and most people think that Facebook and Twitter are ultimate and power rich when it comes to networks, but no. Many marketers and businesses are missing another network that’s hidden in plain sight. Business-to-business networks, they’re called, supply chains, they are at least 2000 times more powerful and widespread. And now these networks are going global and also digital. Vivek is known among smart executives who might be CEOs one day for practical business strategies, practical because they’re crafted in real world, not academia. Vivek, welcome to the show!
Vivek Sood: Thank you, Michael! It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
Michael Dresser: By the way, am I pronouncing your first name right? I hope I am.
Vivek Sood: Yes, you are, absolutely!
Michael Dresser: Ok, great. Let me ask you this. What got you to take a look at business? Obviously there’s got to be that time in your life when you look at something and you say there’s something missing. What caused your journey, that search for what you found?
Vivek Sood: Michael, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been a management consultant to CEO for about 17 years now. I saw that lots of business transformations that companies are going through were failing for some very simple reasons. And those reasons had to do with business-to-business network of their businesses. And that’s when I started investigating these business-to-business networks.
Michael Dresser: You know, when we talk about it, we think business-to-business stay locally within a country. But we’ve expanded today. A business doesn’t do just work in their hometown, they do business globally. And if you are not aware of what’s available for you, and that rich that’s out there, a business that could be successful just won’t work, will it?
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! Michael, let’s go back a few hundred years’ time. All business was very local. The local village had all the artisans which could provide you with whatever you needed. Soon it became regional, because they could find better product, better artisans. And very soon after that we started looking beyond about this. Today the business is totally global. You name any product, you can track its journey all around the globe before it reaches the shelf. Before it reaches the customer’s hands, the product has traveled 5 thousand to 10 thousand miles around the world.
Michael Dresser: Absolutely! By the way, and the average consumer, we have a brand new consumer now. The e-consumer can sit in their house, press the button and track any button in the world.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! Today I’m sitting in Australia, and I can order the best cold clothes, skis out of United States, track them and basically have them delivered to my home, to my office within a period of a week. And I have the world’s biggest inventory on my back and call, right there on the Internet.
Michael Dresser: By the way, Global Supply Chain group, which is the company that you founded. What’s the essence of the group, what does the group do?
Vivek Sood: Global Supply Chain group has only one purpose. We work around the world with large corporations, who have supply chains, but their supply chains are not what we call A class supply chain, the supply chain 3.0. We work with these companies to improve the performance of the supply chain, and the difference is huge. When you jump from C class to A class supply chain, your profitability goes up by 5 times. And that’s what we help out clients to.
Michael Dresser: When we deal with business-to-business networking, obviously you’re not going to have two businesses with the same offering. So I’ve got a business, I have an offering, you have a business, you have an offering. If the offerings can complement each other, do we what? Do we joint venture? Or each one advertise the other’s business?
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! Let me give you an example. Let’s take one of the world’s biggest corporations, Apply Corporation. Before iPhone came along, there were already smartphones made by Samsung, but the screens were really bad. I actually happened to own one of those Samsung Omnias. You had to press a button three times. Apply figured out that the best way to get a new iPhone much better than the existing technology is to work on the screen. Apply didn’t have the screen technology, it went out and found a business partner which had that technology. It made a deal with this partner, who supplied them with this screen and which in the end gave iPhone the edge over the existing technology.
Michael Dresser: So effectively, what we’re really doing is engaging the businesses. You know, the business-to-business, the name is ok, but the actual engagement, complementing each other, implementing that certain something that’s missing within the business that causes them not to get where they need to be. So we find the expertise in particular businesses, we tie them together, and in essence there’s one unit going out there, even though their profitability is individual.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! Businesses do not compete as businesses anymore, they compete as networks of businesses. Imagine a pack of wolves hunting, competing with a lone wolf hunting in the middle of snow. Obviously, a pack of wolves would definitely win.
Michael Dresser: By the way, when you come down to it, there’s a lot of businesses out there today. Everybody’s doing Twitter, everybody’s doing Facebook and they really are not aware of the next step. I guess Global Supply Chain group is really the next step beyond Twitter, and beyond Facebook, and beyond LinkedIn. LinkedIn is really the business opportunity, but when you come down to it, it’s the ability to put these places together, the ability to reach out. And not just reaching out, knowing how to reach out, because there’s got to be a strategy behind it, it’s got to have a process.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! These things are now state of the art technologies, they’re state of the art methodology. And yes, you have to find the right partners, to reach out to them in the right manner. A team players always like to play with the A teams. So if you reach out to them in a wrong manner, or if you play the game not the way they like to play it, very soon you will find yourself not the part of the A team. At the same time, the social network are useful. You can’t say they don’t have a role to play, but they have a role to play more on the consumer’s side, when you engage your consumer into a conversation, to understand what exactly matters to a consumer and to a customer. For business-to-business engagement you need a much deeper and much more involved strategy. And that’s where we basically help our clients.
Michael Dresser: When we take a look at it, I want to go back to when I was introducing you: “known among smart executives who might be CEOs one day”. Getting the information, getting to know it beforehand is wonderful, but is there a wall, is there a challenge to get into a business, that’s already a multimillion-dollar business, they could become a multibillion-dollar business if they would listen to what you have to say. Are there challenges to getting these people to take a look at what’s offered, because, you know, too many people are making a certain amount of money, they’re scared to make that move.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! I think you hit the nail on the head. A lot of businesses are in a comfort zone and they don’t recognize the need to move beyond the comfort zone, to actually 5-star network or a business-to-business network. Still, the competition comes in and eats their lunch. So imagine a Nokia mobile phones, before Samsung or iPhone came along. They were in a comfort zone, they never imagined that an iPhone would come along and certainly Nokia mobile phones become totally irrelevant.
Michael Dresser: Now, by the way, that’s really the key, it’s looking beyond what’s there, and especially in today’s market place, today’s world. We have technology that is changing almost daily. I can go back and remember the first computers, they’d fill up a room! But today, you know, you can walk around with something in your hand and that will give you everything that they did. And it is, it’s taking that step and realizing that there’s more. But the only way that you find out there’s more, is you have somebody who is doing it. They’ve got to have somebody “symbolical”, holding you by the hand, taking you through, allowing you to find out what’s available out there and, more important, how to use it.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! What you need to see is basically benchmark your competition, but also look outside your industry. Look outside other companies in other industries, who are doing much better than where you are and find out the reason why. And you have to be constantly staring, what are the new threats of the horizon, whether they are technological threats or socio-cultural threats, like for example, consumer preferences are changing very quickly as well. As a two-way conversation is becoming possible, you cannot just talk to a consumer anymore, you have to engage them, using things like Twitter and Facebook, but also many other technologies that are available at the moment.
Michael Dresser: I know that everything is globalized, and the world has been global for the last, probably, 20-25 years, at the most, when there was an intensity here. But do you find, because of the different cultures and the different countries that it’s hard to make that connection or, is there that certain something that cuts through all of it that is recognizable to anybody anywhere?
Vivek Sood: Michael, I worked in more than 150 countries now on supply chain projects and business-to-business network projects. What I found is that on the highest level, the corporations are very professional. They understand what is happening around the world in cutting-edge methodologies and they want to learn. On the other hand, tier 2 and tier 3, they are well within their comfort zone, they don’t want to get out of it. They like to blame the events, they like to blame the government, the other people.
Michael Dresser: For what I hear you saying, that’s business oriented, not political. And if you have people with the same mindset, “business-oriented”, it really doesn’t matter what country you are from, because business has a language of its own, profitability has a language of its own and there’s a commonality in interest, in goal-setting.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! Because in the end the purpose of business is always the same, to find a customer who will profitably buy the product and they can build big enough business based on their customer segment. And that is universal, it’s all around the world. After that it can become a little bit more complicated: how you fulfill the customers’ requirements and that’s where the business-to-business networks coming to play. And the language of business is the same all around the world, Michael.
Michael Dresser: Sure, because when you come down to it, when you look at any country, administrations come and go, presidents come and go, but the one thing that stays constant is the business, because business stays focused on the end result. And I think that’s what we should look at. If more countries looked at the way a business was run, we would probably have less problem that we do today.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely, Michael. We have had this eighty-year experiment in the former Soviet Union and communist bloc, where governments were in the business, running business and that failed quite miserably. So we are now in an era where it is clear that business of business is business. Governments are needed, but not to run businesses. In the end, what creates value for society, what creates value for community is the business. And that is universal around the world.
Michael Dresser: I think that’s the key for America today. We shouldn’t have politicians there, and I’m not getting political, just the point here is that we should have people who understand business, who have been in business, who understand profit and loss. Because when you think about it, you know, most of the countries, and especially in America, we are cash in – cash out. What’s left at the end of the month and what’s not left at the end of the month, what’s the deficit? And we ran this country here more in a business fashion. Most of the problems that we have today, we wouldn’t have. We would not be in this kind of debt.
Vivek Sood: I’m obviously not a political commentator or a political adviser. What I can see is that government is getting more and more into business in America as it is in some other places, and I don’t necessarily see this as a positive sign. Quite the contrary.
Michael Dresser: And the reason for that is, and I’m not being political, is that you have to have someone who has been there, who understands what to do, not from a position from politics. And I believe, when you come down to it, “The 5-Star Business Network”, you do something like that with all businesses and the businesses are succeeding. And when the businesses succeed, you have jobs, you have opportunity and you have a flow of income.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! If you look at CEO’s job today, Michael, it is probably one of the hardest jobs on earth today. They are asked to do more with less. On the other hand, they are facing so many political pressures, you can’t even imagine.
Michael Dresser: Sure, no question!
Vivek Sood: And on the other hand, employee loyalty is also disappearing. So what can get them out of all this is really business-to-business network, which can allow them to do more with less, which can also allow them to look beyond employee loyalty. Because that loyalty went out the window about 20 years ago.
Michael Dresser: Sure, and I’ll tell you why we have this employee disloyalty, so to speak. Because they don’t feel part of the business, they don’t have an identity within the business itself. When you have people who have identity within the business and they feel like they have an interest – not an ownership interest, it could be commissions, it could be perks, it could be something. But when they feel like they are part of their business and because of them, employees, the business is being successful, all of the sudden you have loyalty. We come up against with a wall, and that wall divides the business from the employees, the engagement isn’t there, being proud of what they are and what they do.
Vivek Sood: Absolutely! There are deeper socio-cultural reasons. When I started work at 17 as an apprentice, I owed everything to a company which taught me what I learnt. Those kinds of apprenticeships are now almost history. Today young people stay in college till they’re nearly 30.
Michael Dresser: I remember my very first job was 1.65 $ an hour, a hundred years ago. We are just about out of time, so let me ask you this: website we can find you at.
Vivek Sood: Yes, my website is www.viveksood.com. So my first name is Vivek, last name is Sood.
Michael Dresser: If anybody misses it, it will be up on our website.
Vivek Sood: The website of the book is www.5starbusinessnetwork.com.
Michael Dresser: Wonderful! And by the way, thank you so much for joining us today.
Vivek Sood: It’s been a pleasure, Michael. It’s a pleasure to talk to your audience.
Michael Dresser: Take care!