• Gordon Donovan

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

All innovation comes from suppliers. That statement comes from Ford and is taken from a Procurement leaders article called the Levers of value. In procurement we constantly seek how we understand and manage our relationships with suppliers, knowing how we sit int their value matrix is essential for our planning. We may have heard of Net Promoter Score (NPS) and its usefulness in measuring the impact on the recipients of the interaction, be it training, service or support. There is an evolution of that metric called the net easy score - how easy is it to do business with us. This metric, is essential in our understanding of how we may be perceived by our suppliers and therefore how we may improve our standing and access their innovation.

Part of digital transformation is that every business function needs to be re-tooled and re-imagined for how it affects the customers. Supply Chain. Finance. HR and yes procurement. Digital transformation is not just moving to the cloud, it’s the reorientation of the whole organisation in the way it does business. PWC run a digital IQ survey each year and the last one stated that 91% of top financial performers have an executive in charge of employee experience. When we think that our suppliers are part of our extended workforce, this means that the employee experience also encompasses our suppliers.

So lets talk about those suppliers. What do they want and why should we care, they want to get paid on time, and to cut their admin costs and effort in dealing with us. These potentially are outcomes of digital connectivity. There are many articles written about the need to get paid on time to enable supplier relationships. (including one from me!) It’s a key not to improve but for the relationship to actually exist.

Suppliers also want to get access to experience data. Data that talks about how well their products or services perform from an emotional response. Now whilst this may be a little bit of a stretch target wouldn't it be great to feed this back into the supplier, to help them re-engineer the product or offer a better service? Of course getting to that point in the relationship requires a platform that simplifies things for both parties. Ultimately, the goal in procurement is If we can give Suppliers a good experience then we can get access to their innovations. And its that that keeps a product or service fresh in your customers’ eyes.

Because when buyers and supplier collaborate wonderful things can happen for the end customer. Which ultimately is our shared goal. Customer delight.

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