Advanced Supplier Management Lessons: Open Your Ears and Mind

This post is based in part on material from the following Spend Matters Compass series paper: Beyond One-Off Initiatives and a Virtual Vendor Master – Advanced Use Cases for Supplier Management.

When it comes to driving supplier management programs and implementing the right set of enabling technologies to capture, validate and manage supplier information, a key element that is often overlooked is the importance of listening to suppliers – and no, we’re not talking about the technology platform suppliers here, but rather your actual suppliers in the business.

Even though we’re supplier management solution geeks at heart, we’d be the first to admit that technology, as well as platforms such as supplier information management (SIM) toolsets, can be very isolating. By bringing in a decent number of suppliers, some strategic and some less so, to learn more about how they see you from the outside, you’ll be able to design an optimal approach to managing their information and related data assets (e.g., quality, performance, risk and related information).

Moreover, you will learn more about how they perceive you and where they think they have value-add that gets lost in existing engagement procedures. Supplier management done right is truly a means of driving improvements in broader relationships through starting conversations – not to mention supporting initiatives that go beyond silos.

This brings us to our final point in today’s analysis. Always think about supplier management solutions as a potential business platform to drive multiple initiatives, not just as a tactical checkbox tool. As readers of this paper will find, an advanced supplier management solution can bring together data from just about any source and deliver analysis and general visibility that was not available previously, enabling organizations to find gold in unexpected places.

This analysis is based in part on material contained within the following Spend Matters Compass series paper: Beyond One-Off Initiatives and a Virtual Vendor Master – Advanced Use Cases for Supplier Management. Registered users can download it free of charge in the Spend Matters research library.

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