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61% of suppliers struggle to do their best for big brands


According to HICX’s new ‘Voice of the Supplier’ survey, 61% of suppliers are struggling to put their best foot forward for major manufacturers – presenting an opportunity for brands to improve supplier experience and boost competitiveness

Supplier Experience Platform, HICX, has released the ‘Voice of the Supplier’ survey report, which explores the experience suppliers have in working with top enterprises. Over 500 suppliers – all of whom serve some of the biggest brands in the world across the CPG, FMCG, Aerospace and Defense and Energy sectors – shared how they perceive their most important customers.

Findings show that for manufacturers, “customer-of-choice” is a status worth having. According to 70% of suppliers if their biggest customer is also a customer of choice, their orders will be prioritized. Further, 73% would go the extra mile for one designated customer-of-choice. The figures dropped to 50% and 49% respectively, for those respondents who do not view their key customers as favorites.

Equally, the survey revealed that most suppliers experience operational friction in working with large manufacturers. 61% say it’s difficult to deliver their best for key customers. 60% feel they spend too much time on customer driven admin, and 47% struggle to get enquiries resolved.

Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO of HICX, believes that manufacturers have a huge opportunity to harness the full power of their supplier ecosystems. “The collective knowledge that suppliers possess represents significant value and competitive advantage, however, suppliers can also be a source of potential risk. At the end of the day, we need suppliers. We’re stronger for their information. We benefit from their innovation, and we can do with their support. The relationship is not a zero-sum game. So, we should consider how best to work together,” he said.

According to the report there is far too much unnecessary friction in the relationship, stemming from manufacturers’ operational processes. Over a third (38%) of suppliers need to login to at least 10 systems to serve their main customer. Considering the different login details and processes used to navigate each system, this is a growing headache for suppliers, who are often left to piece together what to do and when.

When asked what would most improve the relationship with their most important customers, communication issues top the poll, with 25% of suppliers indicating that they need more relevant information and feedback from major customers.

The need to eliminate friction and unlock benefits for all suppliers – including the smallest and least strategic – has been driving the trend for Supplier Experience Management in recent years.

Lance Younger, CEO and founder of ProcureTech, commented, “With the need to build resilience and fuel growth, it is essential for companies to position themselves as the customer-of-choice with their supply base. Just as organizations connect ‘experiences’ for employees and consumers, supplier end-to-end experience management is imperative for frictionless collaboration. This report is a valuable resource to help organizations to understand suppliers and the true potential of SXM.”.

Xyloyiannis believes that when manufacturers view their processes through the lens of suppliers, the mutual relationship can flourish.

“Only by knowing what your suppliers experience, can true partnerships be created – increasingly this is a prerequisite for building resilient supply chains. We hope that the Voice of the Supplier report will be a helpful source for leaders who aspire to remove supplier friction and boost competitiveness.” concluded Xyloyiannis.To download the full Voice of the Supplier report, visit

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