Suppliers struggle to deliver due to 'unnecessary friction'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
8 September 2022

Three-fifths (61%) of suppliers are “struggling to put their best foot forward” for manufacturing customers, according to a survey.

The Voice of the Supplier survey, by supplier experience platform HICX, found 60% felt they spent “too much time on customer driven admin” and 47% struggled to get inquiries resolved.

The report found there was “far too much unnecessary friction” stemming from operation processes. 

Almost two-fifths (38%) of suppliers needed to login to at least 10 systems to serve their main customers.

“Considering the different login details and processes used to navigate each system, this is a growing headache for suppliers, who are often left to piece together what to do and when,” said HICX.

When asked what would most improve the relationship with their most important customers, communication issues came top, with a quarter (25%) of suppliers saying they needed more relevant information and feedback.

The report emphasised the importance of being “customer of choice”, with 70% of respondents saying orders would be prioritised for preferred customers, while three-quarters (73%) would “go the extra mile” for one designated customer of choice. However, these figures dropped to 50% and 49% respectively for respondents who did not view customers as favourites.

Over 500 suppliers serving brands across CPG, FMCG, aerospace and defence, and energy sectors took part in the survey.

Lance Younger, CEO and founder of ProcureTech, commenting on the research, said: “With the need to build resilience and fuel growth, it is essential for companies to position themselves as the customer-of-choice with their supply base. 

“Just as organisations connect ‘experiences’ for employees and consumers, supplier end-to-end experience management is imperative for frictionless collaboration.”

Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO of HICX, said: “The collective knowledge that suppliers possess represents significant value and competitive advantage. However, suppliers can also be a source of potential risk. At the end of the day, we need suppliers. We’re stronger for their information. We benefit from their innovation, and we can do with their support. The relationship is not a zero-sum game. So, we should consider how best to work together.”

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