The principles behind MTN’s supply chain success

In a continent where many supply chain concepts are news to many businesses, MTN’s supply chain management has set itself apart with some outstanding principles.

Since its launch in 1994, MTN has gone on to become one of the largest companies in the world, not just in Africa.

As of last count, the company now has 280 million subscribers, making it the seventh-largest telecom company in the world but certainly the largest in Africa.

Despite being a technology company, its supply chain management is certainly one of the best in Africa. This article will review some of the principles that have helped the company stand out.


# All-encompassing supplier relationships

This is one of the key principles guiding the MTN’s supply chain strategy. The company enjoys a great relationship with its suppliers. However, before partnering with any business, it does the groundwork to ensure the supplier’s business style matches its goals.

For instance, the company is quite large. This means its suppliers must be able to meet its requirements, but more than that, they must share the same goals. With this, there is a solid foundation for a seamless relationship.

Regulations can be a menace in Africa, but like many small businesses, the company doesn’t have the luxury of getting away with bribery and bypassing regulations.

This means MTN’s supply chain will get in bed only with suppliers keen on compliance, whether industrial or governmental. This is because of their affiliation with MTN, which means more eyeballs. Any delay on that front can jeopardise the company’s supply chain efforts.

Despite MTN’s painstaking efforts in its sourcing and vendor management, it has enjoyed amazing ROI regarding its supplier relationship.


# Unprecendented investment in technology

Supply chain tech solutions are still a growing concept in Africa. 50% of small businesses and over 30% of large-scale businesses find investing in technology tedious and a waste of money.

However, MTN’s supply chain has embraced technology like no other. From its sourcing and vendor management down to the delivery of materials it used to provide its services.

In 2022, Dirk Karl, the company’s CPO, kept emphasizing the  ‘digital DNA’ solution. It will help to push data-driven decision-making, advanced analytics and agility into procurement and, finally, into its supply chain management.

Perhaps it is because, by nature, the company is a tech organization, but its push to embrace technology 100% in its supply chain, especially when there are businesses that will not attempt to, has been significant in its supply chain’s success.


# Commitment to sustainability

MTN’s supply chain places a high value on sustainability. It is committed to sourcing its resources ethically from vendors who follow stringent guidelines.

The supply chain achieves this through a thorough supplier onboarding process and a due diligence strategy that guarantees the protection of human rights, labour practices, and the health of employees across our supply chain.

MTN’s supply chain manages its operations responsibly to maintain the long-term sustainability of the communities in which it operates.

Its supply chain collaborates with partners and suppliers who share its dedication to upholding high ethical standards and acting responsibly to achieve this goal.


# Strict adherence to supply chain code of conduct

The last of the principles of MTN’s supply chain we will discuss in this article is the organization’s strict adherence to its code of conduct.

The company maintains a sort of no-nonsense approach when dealing with internal and external stakeholders.

For instance, it upholds a rigorous end-to-end supplier management system. This involves choosing vendors, onboarding them, conducting due diligence on them, and managing their performance.

Suppliers that aren’t performing well are given the chance and resources they need to do so. However, contracts of suppliers who consistently come short are terminated.