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The 5 qualities of a perfect supplier

Article, Industry Insights

The 5 qualities of a perfect supplier

What does the perfect supplier look like in the eyes of the world’s biggest corporations? You might say that the perfect supplier is simply one that can supply whatever it is that the buyer needs, but in this era of supply chain legislation and increased corporate conscience, there is a lot more to it than that. Read on to find out how you do compared to the top five qualities Achilles clients tell us they are looking for in the perfect supplier.

Of course, exact requirements of big corporate buyers vary depending on the industry, the products or services being purchased, and the specific needs of the buying organization, however there are some key themes and factors that are common across any industry that every business should know to help grow sales.

1. Complies with relevant standards and regulations

As the name suggests, new supply chain due diligence legislation and standards require companies to look beyond their own direct operations and report on the due diligence activities they have undertaken on their supply chain. It is designed to ensure human rights and environmental considerations become an integral part of a company’s business decision making and corporate governance processes. This includes procurement.

Buyers now want (and need) to know that the vendors they are working with aren’t going to add extra risk to their risk profile and the easiest way to do this is to make sure those vendors are operating in a compliant way.

At Achilles, our networks are carefully structured to incorporate both relevant industry standards and national regulation such as CSDDD and Lieferkettengesetz in Europe, BRSR Core in India and Bill S-211 in Canada. This makes it easier for suppliers to demonstrate compliance and for big buying organisations to contract with confidence. Importantly, the Achilles system is continually updated to reflect new requirements as things change and evolve to help you stay compliant and maximise your business opportunities in the markets where you operate.

Read here about a recent change made by the EU to CSRD that may impact businesses selling in Europe.

2. Keeps information up-to-date

Accurate and up-to-date documentation and record-keeping, whether that be financial reports, insurances, accreditations, policy documents or training records, is often seen as a proxy for good governance and compliance. When key information is out of date, it suggests a lack governance which is equated to poor governance and inattention to detail which may seep into other areas of operations such as health and safety processes and product quality – increasing procurement risk.

Achilles provides you with a central repository for your key policies and paperwork to make it easy for buyers to see your approach to records and reporting. We also send notifications when your important documents need to be updated to help you keep on top of policies and paperwork.

3. Strives to continually improve

In today’s era of supply chain due diligence, being able to demonstrate continuous improvement is another key criterion for your potential, customers. Demonstrating supply chain improvement is a key theme across supply chain due diligence and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct on which much legislation is based specifically advises businesses to collaborate with your supply chain and business relationships to resolve issues, share best practices and improve performance together. As a result, buyers are increasingly looking for evidence of analysis of performance, corporate learning, and improvement to help them meet this requirement.

Read more about the OECD Guidance here.

The Achilles score tracks your overall progress beyond just ESG including financial, cyber and other factors enabling you to demonstrate to buyers that your organisation is committed to continual improvement and meeting the ever-increasing buyer standards with better scores year-on-year. You may not be always perfect but ensuring that you have action plans in place where required goes a long way.

To help you identify where you need to focus to strengthen your credentials and win more business, Achilles offers an independent Achilles Audit and supplier improvement programme to help you work through findings and address weaker areas.

4. Demonstrates innovation

Buyers often cite evidence of innovation as a key factor in procurement decisions because it could be what gives them an advantage. When big corporate buyers assess a supplier’s innovation and adaptability, they are looking for indications that the supplier can stay ahead of the curve, respond to changes in the market, and contribute to their success in the long run. This could be product, process or technology innovation such as automation, AI and data analytics that may also offer advantages in terms of efficiency, quality, and/or competitiveness.

The Achilles pre-qualification questionnaire includes a dedicated ‘supplier profile’ section where businesses can showcase their credentials, giving them the chance to share achievements, details of features and functionality that address emerging needs and how innovation in processes, distribution or service are delivering cost savings or improved performance. Similarly, investment in technology such as automation, AI and data analytics may also offer advantages in terms of efficiency, quality, and competitiveness.

5. Has a proactive attitude

Last but not least, buyers tell us the perfect supplier should have a proactive attitude, be willing to work with them to address business challenges and improve performance.

Joining an Achilles community demonstrates to buyers that suppliers are serious about meeting buyer and industry requirements and shows that you are proactively addressing their need for transparency in areas such as human rights and environmental impact.

Why not also sign up to an Achilles Supplier Training Course – either classroom or eLearning? It is another proactive step you can take to learn more about the procurement processes, especially in regulated industries.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can turn your business into the perfect supplying organisation and see your business grow.

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