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Adopt a 'Know Your Supplier' policy

The base point for every best in class procurement function is knowing who your suppliers are and what they do. A sales department would consider it unthinkable to not know who their customers were, when to contact them, who to contact and what products would offer the most value. Unfortunately we still see so many procurement functions who do not know their suppliers well enough. They are hamstrung either by inadequate excel-based tools, a reliance on Sharepoint or overly complex add-ons to ERP solutions which do not provide quick and easy access to the requisite information.

Procurement teams are also faced with inefficient and time-consuming manual tasks such as updating existing supplier records, uploading new suppliers and collating spreadsheets for questionnaire responses. Team members performing these tasks are often over-qualified for these assignments, and could be spending their time on alternative value-generating activities.

All of this manifests itself in poorly negotiated agreements and lost opportunities. While organisations are also exposed the to risks of poor performance, supplier bankruptcy and working with suppliers who do not adhere to supply chain legislature like the Modern Slavery Act (2015).

The advantages of understanding and engaging with suppliers

The best way to combat these problems is by empowering your team through deploying an easy-to-use, nimble, cloud-based solution. Inherent within any solution you choose should be a central supplier directory which gives your procurement team access to all supplier information in one place – ensuring you truly ‘know your supplier’.

Improved supplier collaboration should be ensured via access to a Cloud-based supplier portal. Here the onus is placed on suppliers to keep their details and records up-to-date. This not only ensures suppliers are categorised correctly and notified of the opportunities relevant to them, but frees procurement teams up from manual data entry tasks and means they can spend more time doing what they do best – finding the most suitable suppliers and negotiating great deals for their organisation.

These successes not only enhance the day-to-day running of the procurement function, but enhance an organisation’s reputation as a buyer – transforming the procurement function from a cost-centre to a value-adding leader which transcends the organisation.

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