Supplier experience is critical to sustainable production

ISM

By Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO of HICX

Exclusive article for ISM – There is no better time for leading organizations to pioneer change in sustainability. Amid government regulations and consumer expectations, businesses should seize the opportunity to deliver sustainability initiatives that are truly inventive and meaningful.

A healthy base of suppliers set up to do their best work and present great ideas is critical. Many organizations have supplier relationship management programs in place to ensure this. However, in practice, such programs involve only a small number of suppliers who are strategically relevant. For everyone else, there are unrealistic demands, late payments and complicated systems to contend with, as well as countless other pain points that make work and ideas generation difficult and expensive.

We need a radical change in the way we engage with suppliers. Start by thinking of the process as part of a wider movement — supplier experience management — in which supplier-centricity is a bigger priority. Identifying friction points that hamper mutual success is the first step, followed by weeding them out and prioritizing data quality for all suppliers.

A major nuisance for suppliers, for instance, is poor communication channels. When understanding what customers consider value-adding ideas, it’s possible that suppliers across different regions and categories may have different interpretations. Naturally, this amplifies the communications issue. It also blocks innovation.

One solution is for organizations to segment suppliers according to similarities, so their sustainability needs can be conveyed in a clear and targeted way. This way, the message is highly relevant and easily digestible for every supplier.

The encouraging news: As some leading manufacturers plan long-term technology strategies, they are shifting cultural mindsets and embracing supplier experience principles. And the exciting news: By fostering mutual success, businesses have an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on our planet.

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