How to engage with your supply chain

19 Mar 2017
Article by Achilles

According to a recent Procurement Leaders Trend Report, almost one-quarter (22 per cent) of procurement resource is set to be spent on improving supplier relationship management (SRM) as CPOs look to improve the relationship their function has with suppliers.

You could argue that just like with engaged employees, an engaged supply chain contributes to success. They give their best each day, are committed to goals and values, and are motivated.

Here are some easy ideas you could implement to improve your engagement and relationship with suppliers:

1. Supplier events

Suppliers want to engage with you.

We know this as that’s the feedback we get from our popular Meet the Members networking events.

We get asked by suppliers to run more events with a variety of buying organisations in attendance to help suppliers understand what is expected from them, your procurement process and how they best engage with you to find out what new opportunities your organisation is looking to tender for. We also offer plenty of networking opportunities during the event as well. So, you never know what new collaborations may start as a result. If you are interested in being a speaker or want to come to network at one of these events, please talk to your Account Manager.

You could also hold a Supplier Day, where you dedicate a day just for your supply chain to help them understand your organisation’s vision, values and expectations. And if you need help from us, we are more than happy to support you along the way.

2. Website page to engage suppliers

Making it easy for suppliers to engage with your organisation should be your mantra. The more information you are able to provide up front, the less suppliers will be looking to contact you to ask questions.

Having an area dedicated on your website for suppliers that explains things like how the procurement team currently engages with suppliers and how to become a new supplier is a good idea. This could direct suppliers to join an Achilles community or you could have a form to capture supplier details to start building a prospect list.

This website area could also include what will be expected of suppliers, including hosting any policies and documentation they may need to adhere to.

Being up front about your organisation’s expectations and requirements is key here.

Many of our buyers are already doing this – here are examples from Scottish Power, UK Power Networks and Thames Water.

3. Preferred supplier lists

Part of the information for suppliers could include how to become a preferred supplier. You may not want to go as far as the retail sector, where the likes of ASOS and Gap have published their preferred supplier lists to encourage transparency and improve reputational risk.

However, providing suppliers with a standard to work towards in order to be part of your preferred supplier list in the future, could help to improve your overall supply chain performance by driving continuous improvement.

Communication is important to effectively engage with your supply chain. It helps to keep your supply chain updated with important information; this could include things like changes to the legislation you require them to comply with or how to help them proactively work towards your organisation’s vision and values.

Combined, each of these steps could help to improve your engagement with your supply chain.



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