- Collaboration with supply chain partners evades 57% of suppliers, says new research from 3M, Inbound Logistics reported Thursday.
- Of the 237 U.S. suppliers surveyed, 70% reported that roughly half their customers lack either a strong system or process for collaboration, which may be causing customers to miss out on millions in efficiency and development improvements.
- Regarding technology, at least 60% of companies are upgrading their systems to facilitate greater customer connection. Sustainability measures are improving too, with 76% of suppliers operating a sustainable system for a positive business outcome.
In 2016, a report by Wax Digital revealed that more than two-fifths of procurement respondents sought supplier-led product innovation technology, while suppliers consistently report a sense of distance and unimportance within the buyer-supplier relationship.
The most successful supplier-buyer relationships include a strong sense of collaboration and partnership. Incentivizing success is one method of rewarding a supplier for innovation, but more important still is creating a sense of partnership and security, wherein both sides can offer input, feedback, and creativity. Joint goal setting, wherein both sides understand the others' needs, is highly effective in establishing a solid and successful partnership.
Despite its value, we know that establishing a partnership isn't always easy, yet we can learn from those who fail. An adversarial relationship based wholly on demands for cost reductions instills dissatisfaction on the part of the supplier, and creates a power imbalance which discourages innovation. It also inhibits communication, both in quality and frequency, which negates goal-sharing and joint growth strategies. Viewing a supplier as subservient, and of secondary value will never result in improvements — merely resentment.