2021 Highlights on Supplier Experience

The year is almost over, and it’s time to summarize the key takeaways!

What is Supplier Experience?

At the beginning of the year, we introduced a whole new concept in supply chain management: Supplier Experience. It is holistic in nature and approaches customer-supplier relationship from the viewpoints of:

  1. Future visibility and open governance
  2. Operational transparency and automation
  3. New technology
  4. Excellent collaboration and interaction
  5. Manufacturing Ecosystem
  6. The end-customer will see the outcome of a poor supplier experience, and that’s why every executive should care about it.

TOP 5 Priorities of Procurement Professionals

We wanted to give the floor to procurement professionals and analyze what are the most topical procurement-related key business drivers from their point of view. We analyzed qualitative interview data from 83 interviews. Based on the analysis, the TOP 5 priority themes of the companies are:

  1. Supply chain digitalization – 90 % of the companies
  2. Improving supply chain transparency & communication – 90 % of the companies
  3. Releasing employees’ time for more value-adding work – 81 % of the companies
  4. Improving employee satisfaction – 71 % of the companies
  5. Increasing purchasing’s productivity – 48 % of the companies

Procurement executives have identified a huge potential to improve the supply chain transparency and communication and to increase the productivity in procurement by automating manual work. The following action list will help you to get started:

  • Investigate in which processes exist the biggest workload of manual routine work that can be automated with a digital solution
  • Search for real customer cases which can present proven benefits of solving the challenge in practice
  • Avoid tailored software solutions – prefer best industry-specific standard platforms
  • Solve challenges one by one in small pieces – avoid big hype projects
  • Set targets first for low hanging fruits – quick wins motivate and encourage the personnel for further development
  • Don’t forget the supplier experience – without an excellent supplier experience you won’t achieve any results

Supply Chain Sustainability

Two megatrends – sustainability and digitalization – are shaping the manufacturing industry more and sooner than we think. The following checklist will help you to get started with supply chain sustainability transformation:

  • Think holistically – Consider strategic and operative viewpoints: supplier compliance, sustainability innovation, and operative sustainability.
  • Include environmental & social aspects – Involve both environmental and social sustainability impacts.
  • Set targets & define KPIs – Set concrete targets and define appropriate KPIs to follow-up on the progress.
  • Use digital tools – Utilize a digital supplier experience platform to enable the sustainability transformation and building concrete use cases.
  • Build new competencies & capabilities – Eliminate manual work where possible and build new sustainability-related competencies and capabilities in your organization.
  • Collaborate with suppliers – Work together with the suppliers at strategic and operative levels to achieve great results in different sectors.
  • Remember the scale – Focus on the biggest sustainability impact of different areas.
  • Avoid greenwashing – Do not tinker around for only looking good, but focus on honestly impactful and meaningful things.

What drives Supply Chain Collaboration?

Mutual interaction is a key to improving and continuously developing products, services, and processes. The smooth flow of information between the parties is an important factor for operational efficiency, and the availability of knowledge makes it possible to co-create something unique faster than it would be possible intra-organizationally. But what are the drivers behind the collaboration?

  • Driver 1: To ensure the availability of materials and services under situations of resource scarcity
  • Driver 2: To ensure smooth flow of operations in challenging exchange situations
  • Driver 3: To control costs by co-development and optimization
  • Driver 4: To ensure the best possible knowledge in R&D and continuous improvement
  • Driver 5: To ensure new business concepts based on co-creation
  • Driver 6: To build sustainable supply chains

Wishing you all a relaxing holiday season and a happy new year!