supply chain sustainability Content

How supplier collaboration can lead to growth and sustainability

supplier collaboration

Enterprises large and small are realizing the extended gains to be had from collaboration, both with suppliers and partners, to bring an opportunity to drive synergies. Those might come from joint initiatives on R&D, expanding business reach that is not possible within their own confines, or working to optimize costs for the consumer. It is when they extend these collaboration models to more and more, perhaps tens of thousands, of suppliers that business capabilities increase. This is a business model that is becoming not just more common but essential, and is one which needs managing as the number of suppliers we work with increases. Many firms seek technology that can help them cultivate and manage those alliances at scale.

Multinational consumer goods firm Unilever explains how it is actively pursuing a partner and supplier collaboration approach and forging a world-changing initiative with a responsibility for sustainability, people and the planet. “In order to achieve our sustainable growth ambition, we must collaborate with our suppliers and partners, and the technology we use to facilitate that engagement plays a vital role,” explains Alexandra Tarmo, Head of Partnerships & Social Procurement at Unilever.

2021 and the war on supply chain talent: How tech can create a win-win

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Richard Lebovitz, President and CEO of LeanDNA, an analytics platform for factory inventory management.

Last year’s coronavirus disruption was quite a time for the supply chain. As if 2020’s supplier shortages, factory shutdowns, demand changes and excess inventory weren’t enough, new challenges affecting the workforce are emerging due to furloughs, remote work and more. The result is low productivity and morale, as well as high turnover. Couple this with an already aging workforce, and the industry has a problem in terms of talent.

Despite looming economic uncertainty, 41% of supply chain professionals are unlikely to stay with their current employer over the next few months in pursuit of better opportunities for career progression, according to a report by the recruitment agency DSJ Global.

Facing a potential talent exodus, industry leaders can leverage technology to boost productivity when operating with a smaller workforce. Empowering the team with tools that make their day-to-day easier and open them up to be more strategic also positively impacts morale, retention and employee happiness.

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Why now is the time to transform procurement


The need to increase supply chain sustainability, boost profitability and mitigate supplier risk in the wake of COVID-19 has turned procurement from a cost-cutting department to a strategic arm of the business. Recent research found most procurement professionals believe colleagues consider them to be a key business partner, contributing significant strategic value (67%).

Ian Thompson of Ivalua shares his perspective that those businesses that have recognized procurement’s strategic value and given it a voice at Board level have been better able to weather the recent turbulence. They’ve benefitted from greater visibility into the supply chain and better access to actionable insights to make better, faster decisions. This leaves those businesses well placed to gain an advantage over competitors. However, he believes that there are still many that have not given procurement the investment it needs to step up, causing them to lag behind. For them, now is the time to transform.