Working with suppliers in times of uncertainty
Too often, responsibility for managing and monitoring supplier records and relationships is diluted across an organisation.
But this shouldn't be the case, especially in times such as these.
Tough times require tough cost control measures. Your initial response is probably to cut resources – it seems like an instant saving. But there’s a far more logical place to start pruning costs, and that's your supplier database.
Many companies are currently looking to move to new suppliers
, but most should be looking to consolidate the relationships already established. Building a strong supplier base may not be the main priority at the moment, but maintaining your base should be.
Who ‘owns’ supplier relationships?
Ask who owns the supplier relationships in your business and a number of contenders will most likely jostle for management position. Operational staff who interact directly with suppliers; the legal department because it is responsible for contracts; governance officers because they oversee the compliance of suppliers' products and services in critical areas of the business; even the sales team, because suppliers might contribute a vital element of a customer service or product.
The truth is that they might all have responsibility at key stages of the supplier management lifecycle, but this means that there is probably no overall strategy to extract the efficiency and cost-saving benefits of proactive supplier management. A lack of visibility can be a constant drain on the business.