Lack of collaboration 'leaving immense value on the table'

Strong collaboration with suppliers is a critical part of business success but only 43% of suppliers feel empowered to collaborate with buyers, according to a report.

3M’s report, which surveyed 237 suppliers across the US, found around half have held back from making strategic recommendations that could help their customer because of a lack of incentive or openness.

This could mean that buyers are losing out on more affordable ways of packaging goods or new product innovations, the report said.

One of the main faults may lie in a lack of systems and technology that may make collaboration more efficient. More than two thirds of suppliers said at least half of their customers did not have strong systems or processes in place for collaboration.

“This coordination gap is potentially costing customers in efficiency and development opportunities,” the report said.

However, 95% of suppliers reported being at least somewhat empowered and encouraged to innovate and make suggestions for improvement for their customers.

Some 60% of organisations suppliers work with are making major changes or upgrading their systems and technology to becoming more connected, while 58% already have fully modern systems in place.

“Organisations that collaborate with their suppliers are reaping the benefits of a successful partnership,” said the report. “These companies’ suppliers are more open to share ideas and foster a relationship, whereas non collaborators are leaving immense value on the table.”

Meanwhile, 61% of suppliers listed volatile commodity and supply prices as the biggest risks facing their supply chains this year, 15% listed the uncertain policies of the Trump administration, 8% listed regulatory compliance and 7% performance of tier two and three suppliers. Some 6% listed natural disasters and supply disruptions as their major risk, while 3% listed cyber security.

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