The supplier contract is in place. Now what?

Oftentimes, not much. At least not until it’s time for an annual supplier review. The customer and supplier schedule a meeting. They meet. And it’s so awkward. Why? Well, the two parties have different business intents.

The supplier’s wants to grow the account. But the customer wants to improve the supplier’s performance on the existing scope of work. So the customer says…”we have a lot of issues you need to address.” To which the supplier responds…”hmm, this is the 1st I’ve heard.”

The two parties go back and forth, and somewhere during the discussion, they agree to survey the stakeholders. Sometimes the supplier administers the survey, and others its the customer. But in either case, the administrator burns 25% of their work week trying to produce & manage the supplier survey.

This approach doesn’t scale. And if it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t happen.

Supplier surveys don’t scale because the administrator has to:

  • Craft messages that explain the purpose of each survey
  • Craft survey questions
  • Program (design & structure) how each question is answered
  • Schedule and/or manually email feedback providers
  • Identify and follow-up with non-responders
  • Aggregate the responses
  • Create reports
  • Disseminate and/or present the results

Now consider who actually assumes the role of administrator. On the supplier side, job titles are National Account Manager or Customer Support Specialist. Conversely, on the customer side, job titles are Procurement Manager, Strategic Sourcing Analyst, or Supplier Relationship Manager. (1) None of these folks are formally trained to administer surveys. (2) They barely have enough time to complete their defined responsibilities. So (3) the supplier survey process doesn’t stick.

3 steps to reclaim supplier related FTE hours:

  1. Deploy a software solution that automates the laborious administrative tasks.
  2. Repurpose the saved FTE hours
  3. Take steps to strengthen each supplier relationship