Northumbrian Water's John Murray and Laura McMain (centre) pictured with comedian Russell Kane and Patrick Dunne of Sainsbury's at the CIPS SM Awards 2018
Northumbrian Water's John Murray and Laura McMain (centre) pictured with comedian Russell Kane and Patrick Dunne of Sainsbury's at the CIPS SM Awards 2018

How to create a compelling supplier day

Northumbrian Water won overall at the CIPS SM Awards 2018. Procurement category managers Laura McMain and John Murray share their top tips for arranging a supplier day

1. Ensure the appropriate suppliers are in the room
We developed a risk prioritisation model to check we were targeting the right suppliers. This focused on environmental, economic and social aspects. If you have limited resources, this approach will help to tackle the high-risk areas first.

2. Engage the supply chain before the event
We identified suppliers in the supply chain who were demonstrating best practice and used them to support delivery. This is a cost-effective way of sharing information.

3. Make the agenda engaging and interactive
Provide a mix of delivery styles. Talking at suppliers is fine but ensure you make it a two-way conversation through smaller workshops. Make use of specialists where appropriate to add strength to the message.

4. Have clear outputs
Suppliers are giving up their time to come to the event so make sure it is clear what they will gain from attending.

5. Think about the venue
Having appropriate facilities and support from a venue allows you to focus on the day and engage without distraction. 

6. Get feedback
Give suppliers the opportunity to provide feedback. This can inform and improve future events.

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