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Study shows which region is best at supplier management

I was curious to know which industries and regions performed best when it came to supplier management. Being the character I am I wanted data points rather than spurious hearsay or anecdotes so I designed an on-line assessment and waited for facts to arrive.

The assessment was posted the HICX Solutions website and promoted globally via our regular channels as complimentary for any organisation to complete. In return respondents would receive an anonymised benchmark report showing how their organisation compared to others.

The last six months has been fascinating as I have watched companies of all size, location and industry complete assessments. There is simply too much information to cram into a 500 word blog so I have chosen ten learnings to share. Five about the respondents and five about performance trends.

Five learnings about respondents.

  1. Procurement/supply chain are the number one interested parties representing 68% of respondents. Other participants included people from operations, audit and IT. I found it noteworthy that there were no respondents from finance.
  2. Respondents outside procurement were all from medium or small companies.
  3. Large companies represented 68% of the sample, with medium 24%, and small 8%.
  4. Manufacturing was the stand-out sector comprising 24% of respondents, followed by logistics with 12%.
  5. Sub-regional representation was largest in North America (28%) and Western Europe (24%) followed by Asia Pacific (11%) and Middle East (9%). Regional representation was 48% EMEA, 33% Americas, 19% Asia.

Five learnings about performance trends (self assessed on a 1-5 criteria based range).

  1. Small and medium size companies were broadly comparable in performance with ave scores of 3.09 and 3.00 respectively. Large companies were significantly more mature at 3.57.
  2. Small companies scored the highest on strategy and organisation. Medium companies scored highest on data. Large companies dominated the process and system areas.
  3. American firms scored highest for strategy, governance, collaboration, and supplier relationship management.
  4. Asian firms scored highest for performance culture, communication, analytics and ethical sourcing.
  5. European firms scored highest for policies, leadership, process, systems and data.

My interpretation of these learnings? That will likely be a white paper topic for the future, however, it is clear that region and organisation size are influences on performance (or perceived performance) across each of the assessment areas of strategy, organisation, process, systems and data.

There is clearly much to do across all areas and even the largest companies in the strongest regions have critical weaknesses holding them back.

And that is exactly the problem we solve.


Grant Watling is a Principal Consultant at HICX Solutions advising fortune 500 companies how to optimise their supplier master data vision, strategy, governance, policy, process, organisation and systems.

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