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Supplier relationship management (SRM) is rising up the list of procurements priorities. In fact, according to the Procurement Leaders 2017 Trends Report, 22% of procurement resources are being allocated towards SRM in 2017. It is an area that can always be improved and there are a number of ways for procurement to do that.
A user-friendly customer website is fundamental to any organisation, to make it attractive and draw custom, so surely the same can be said for supplier-facing websites. Creating a website specifically for its supply base allows procurement to outline how and why suppliers should want to work with the organisation. But what should a supplier website include? Depending on the type of organisation, information will vary but there are certain elements that remain constant. Basic contact information, PO and invoicing information and the types of products procurement is looking to purchase should all be readily available for the supplier to access on the site. Further, a detailed supplier code of conduct, supplier guidelines and sustainability efforts can help add credibility to the organisation’s résumé and draw in suppliers who share in the same values as the organisation. Having a portal on the site where suppliers can register and present information about the services they provide may also be worth exploring.
Supplier days or supplier fairs are another useful method to see what diverse, untapped supplier talent is out there. This face-to-face interaction offers a mutually beneficial exercise. Not only does it enable suppliers to learn about the values of the procurement team, it also allows procurement to learn more about its suppliers, their strengths and potential channels for innovation. There are a number of ways to approach a supplier day but one of the most important elements is to understand what the principal aim of the supplier day is. Is it for procurement to learn about new suppliers and have them exhibit similar to a trade show? Or is it simply a way to learn more and give feedback to existing suppliers? Or is it to engage the supply base by presenting the organisation’s own plans for the future? Or it can be a combination of all three. An important thing to remember to do is to gather feedback from suppliers after the event to define the value of it and improve on the model in the future.
Many high profile retailers including ASOS and Gap have already taken the step to publically publish a list of their suppliers. Making supplier information readily available infers transparency and a pride in reputation. Not only does this allow consumers and stakeholders to see what type of corporate social responsibility initiatives are in place at the organisation it also gives the suppliers a chance to see typical code of conducts and the values of the company. Suppliers can see the types of suppliers the organisation is already working with, helping them to distinguish if they are relevant to the organisation before reaching out to connect.
Finding the right suppliers is critical in helping the function grow. Procurement needs to constantly explore new ways to attract and maintain supplier talent if it wants to further those relationships.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.