David Atkinson On SRM – A Personal Journey on LinkedIn (Also at eWorld)

Regular readers will know of David Atkinson’s expertise in supplier relationship management (SRM) in particular. He’s written many articles for us over the years, (like this) and delivered webinars in the days of the BravoSolution Real World Procurement series (like this).

He’s now published a lengthy article on LinkedIn which is well worth a read. It is also part of what might be a trend. Having for years gone down the track of short sharp content – with Twitter at the extreme perhaps – is the fashion swinging back to longer, more thoughtful and considered work? Longform articles by publications such as the New Yorker have been surprising online hits, and now we’re seeing more of these “ten-minute reads” popping up on LinkedIn. Perhaps attention spans are getting longer again?

Anyway, Atkinson’s article is not surprisingly titled “Supplier Relationship Management – A Personal Journey”.  He starts by explaining why he focuses so much on that topic.

“There isn’t a single reason, but there are two major influences on why this remains a priority for me and in my work: (1) We’re all products of our experience, and I’ve been fortunate to spend time in sectors where long-term relationships really matter (and where re-sourcing to alternative suppliers is difficult and sometimes prohibited) and so SRM is at the heart of procurement competence and, (2) SRM is a fascinating area of procurement where leadership, strategy, maturity, negotiation, and project management are all at least as important as technical sourcing skills”.

We wouldn’t disagree.  He goes on to explain how he came to realise just how important supplier development and collaboration could be in certain industries, and how closely quality is linked to the SRM picture too. He gets a little more controversial when he talks about what he believes is “a misunderstanding of business in the real world; a presumption of supplier competence. The premise is if only we (the buying organisation) were to take a more collaborative approach, then willing suppliers will line-up to offer savings and other improvements”.

Atkinson points out that negotiation “never ends” through the life of the contract – and that the buyer has to offer something of real value to the supplier if they expect to get anything significant back in such post-contract negotiations and programmes. Very true again.

Anyway, we don’t want to replay too much of the article; it is well worth that 10 minutes of your time. In addition, David is running a session at eWorld next week on October 3rd in London - another reason to attend the free event.  It is a “Supplier Management Clinic” and is “an interactive session on SRM where attendees will discuss what it takes to launch (or re-launch) a successful programme. David will facilitate the debate, covering:

  • Why SRM matters
  • The skill requirements to do it well
  • A model for deploying SRM systematically, consistently and repeatedly
  • What it takes to embed better practice”

I have no doubt it will also be well worth your time if you have any interest in this topic – see you there.

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