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98% of suppliers want better communication

Voice of the Supplier Survey

(London, 27 June 2024) HICX is announcing its Voice of the Supplier Survey 2024. The survey builds on its predecessor from 2021, which revealed that some of the world’s biggest businesses are making it hard for suppliers to do their best work. Keen to learn the state of affairs today, the Supplier Experience vendor set out to repeat the study.

HICX surveyed 1,000 suppliers that serve large multinationals, typically those with more than $1 billion in revenue and which operate in the consumer packaged goods, aerospace and defence, and energy sectors. Respondents, who work directly with businesses in this category, were asked to relate the survey to their biggest customer.

“We found that supplier experience is still a problem,” says Costas Xyloyiannis, HICX’s CEO. “Presently, 59% of suppliers struggle to do their best for major customers, compared with 61% in the previous study. This very minor improvement is concerning. With supply chain resilience so critical to business success in today’s economy, it’s time this figure drops,” he explains. 

The survey suggests the issue originates with how businesses work with suppliers –specifically, how they communicate. A staggering 98% of suppliers long for their biggest customers to communicate better.

“Not nearly enough leaders are working with suppliers in a modern and helpful way. Rather, people are clinging to the idea of running supplier transactions, and then from this baseline, trying to manage suppliers. Don’t get me wrong, transacting is important. But in today’s landscape supplier collaboration is more important. It’s time, therefore, to shake up supplier management and put collaboration first” he says.

Instead of collaboration, though, suppliers are experiencing a fractious relationship. Nearly half of all the suppliers surveyed find it hard to resolve queries with their customers, who, suppliers say, can also actually hinder the relationship. For example, many suppliers feel too stretched to volunteer new ideas and they find big customers unpleasant to work with.

What’s very clear is that companies should take this situation seriously: the survey also found that if customers were easier to work with, most suppliers would do better work. Specifically, suppliers could send data faster, respond to requests more accurately, give more detailed feedback and even volunteer extra information. “If staying resilient within an ever-changing world relies so heavily on supplier relationships, why aren’t we giving suppliers a more collaborative experience? Why aren’t we communicating with them better? Unlocking their best? Those leaders who get this right will create the opportunity to make their businesses truly competitive,” Costas concludes.

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