In a world of economic uncertainty, every organisation is facing supply chain issues and increased costs. That’s why Supplier Relationship Management/SRM is becoming a key strategic focus for many. In fact, in the recent Procurement Key Issues Study, over half of the procurement executives surveyed reported that supplier relationship management was a planned improvement initiative for them this year, alongside other priorities such as talent attraction/management, data analytics and reporting, and strategic sourcing.
Supplier Relationship Management/SRM is the process of building and maintaining long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with key suppliers. By effectively managing their supplier relationships, organisations can achieve many key benefits, including:
In addition to these specific benefits, supplier relationship management/SRM can also help to improve the overall performance in a number of ways: it can help organisations reduce the time it takes to get new products and services to market, improve customer service, increase employee morale, and strengthen the brand.
One of the key challenges for organisations is a shortage of talent and resources. Demand for supply chain managers has increased steadily over the last few years, with available vacancies in 2022 36% higher than in 2019. Whilst this highlights the importance organisations are now putting on managing their suppliers more effectively to combat supply chain issues, it also emphasises how hard it is to find and retain people with the right skill set.
Technology is also a challenge. A recent survey reported that just 14% of organisations had adopted specialist relationship management software, with most relying on generic applications like Microsoft Excel and SharePoint.
Adopting new technology or employing the specialist skills take time and money, and can temporarily disrupt business as usual, therefore supplier relationship management/SRM can be a time-consuming and expensive process that requires committed investment to implement and maintain – putting many organisations off.
Supplier relationship management/SRM also requires buy-in from wider stakeholders in the organisation. SRM is a cross-functional process that requires effective communication and collaboration between different departments, so if senior executives across the wider business don’t see the value in it, it’s unlikely that the organisation will be able to make the necessary investments and changes needed to do it properly. Without the necessary support, it can be difficult to build and maintain strong, trusted relationships with suppliers.
Here are our six top tips to improve supplier relationship management/SRM in your organisation:
Of course, these quick wins assume you have time away from the day-to-day to focus more heavily on your supplier relationship which is often not the case. Many organisations do not have the budget, or time, to find an additional internal resource to specialise in SRM. This is when external support, like eXceeding, can really be helpful in getting your SRM programme off the ground.
At eXceeding, we can help to save you time and resources by taking on the burden on SRM implementation and management.
Our SRM experts have experience working with a variety of organisations in different industries and have seen what works and what doesn’t. This is invaluable to organisations that are new to SRM or that are struggling to improve their SRM process.
We have specialist-level knowledge of the supplier marketplace and are not biased towards any particular supplier. This allows us to provide objective advice and recommendations that are best suited to your specific needs.
We can also offer advice on the latest SRM best practices and get them in place in your organisation swiftly by managing change and communicating with stakeholders across the business to ensure it is successful.
If you’re struggling with supplier relationship management and want to use the process to optimise costs, reduce risk and minimise disruption, let’s talk. Our consultants will provide support and guidance that is unique for your organisation so that you can achieve better results.
Drop us an email at [email protected], or give us a call on 0330 088 1620, we’d love to hear from you.