Better ways to engage with your supply chain

Article by Achilles

It may feel like it sometimes, but supply chains are not unchanging entities set in stone. Rather, they shift and change over time as the companies that make them up grow and develop. Sometimes this change can be disruptive, while in other instances it can be a positive experience.

Whatever happens, an engaged supply chain is much better able to deal with change in a productive way. If buyers and suppliers feel trusted, valued and listened to, they are much more likely to work together to overcome challenges.

Procurement professionals that don’t engage with their suppliers could be setting themselves up for major disruptions.

Here are some easy ideas to improve your engagement and relationships with suppliers:

Set up some supplier events

Suppliers want to engage with you. That’s the most common feedback we get from our popular ‘Connect’ networking events.

In fact, we get asked by suppliers to run more events that bring buyers and suppliers together. There is no better way for potential suppliers to understand what you want from them, your procurement process and how best to engage with you, than to meet face-to-face and talk about it.

Networking does create new opportunities for both suppliers and buyers, but it can be hard to set them up. We can help with that, so if you are interested in being a speaker or want to come along to one of these networking events, please talk to your Account Manager.

You could also hold a Supplier Day, where you dedicate a day to helping your supply chain understand your vision, values and expectations. Again, we are more than happy to support you in setting one of these up.

Use your website

It shouldn’t be difficult for suppliers to engage with you. The more information you provide publically, the less suppliers will need to contact you to ask questions.

Dedicate an area on your website for suppliers that provides key information, including how the procurement team currently engages with suppliers and the benefits of doing business with you. You should also include any policies and documentation they will need to adhere to when they become part of your supply chain.

Be as transparent as you can here. The relationships you create with your suppliers will be better if they feel you have been as upfront as possible with them.

Create preferred supplier lists

Part of the information you provide suppliers should tell them how they can become one of your preferred suppliers.

You many not feel the need to go as far as the retail sector has in recent years, with ASOS and Gap publishing their preferred supplier lists to encourage transparency and improve reputational risk, but setting a standard early can be beneficial.

Letting suppliers know what an ideal partner looks like to you sets a benchmark for everyone to work towards, helping to improve your overall supply chain performance.

Communication is important to effectively engage with your supply chain. It helps to keep everyone updated with relevant information such as changes to the legislation.

If you take these steps you could end up with every buyer’s dream: a supply chain made up of committed, reliable and productive companies all eager to grow alongside each other.



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