Have you got the message?

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
7 April 2014

10 April 2014 | Paul Snell

Paul SnellThe SRM specialists who contributed to the cover feature this issue have condensed their broad experience and expertise into 10 tips to help you freshen up your supplier relations.

Reading their advice, it is possible to summarise the common message from all respondents into just two words: “Improve communication”.

Building trust, providing clarity of purpose, encouraging innovation – to develop any of these, the starting point has to be open and honest discussion. It’s not just supplier management that would benefit from this either. Stakeholder relations and even personal relationships would too. It doesn’t matter whether it is establishing whose responsibility it is to monitor the SLAs, or knowing whose turn it is to take the bins out – what’s key is communicating it clearly.

Of course, the ability to communicate effectively in business has always been crucial. But for procurement professionals its importance is only going to increase, particularly in light of the (surprising) news last month that expanding the influence of the function is now a higher priority than cost-cutting.

“They’re looking for ways to reinvent their value proposition,” says the Hackett Group’s Chris Sawchuk. “This requires working more effectively with spend owners, executives, requisitioners, suppliers, and other stakeholders. It also calls for skills that are outside procurement’s traditional areas of expertise.”

Good communication will only be one of the solutions, but those without this capability will find their circles of influence limited.

Demand for buyers with good communication skills is a global issue, as our feature on ‘what CPOs in the Middle East are looking for’ highlights.

This, along with much more, will be discussed at the CIPS Middle East Conference in Dubai on 12 May, and companies that have got it right will be recognised at the CIPS Middle East Awards that evening. Visit www.cipsmiddleeastconference.com to book your place.

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