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Supplier Engagement – Gaining Feedback and Insights from Suppliers – FOTP Research

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We conduct supplier engagement feedback research driven around the specific needs of our clients, in terms of scope, process and deliverables.

As a key Stakeholder Group, your Suppliers are crucial in enabling you to develop the products/services to better meet your customers’ requirements.  Suppliers can range anywhere from Transactional to Strategic, from Exclusive to Shared and more and more frequently are being considered pivotal to enable a company to deliver its business plans. Given the growing importance of suppliers, it is becoming increasingly relevant to understand their views and gather their feedback. In an increasingly competitive environment, to have strong, positive, collaborative relationships with your key suppliers is becoming a strategic imperative and key competitive advantage. Suppliers often have choices: who they work with, who they invest with, who they chose to develop strategic relationships with. The most successful companies often have the most successful supplier relationships with strong supplier engagement.  But how do you know how successful your supplier relationships are, without some form of measurement.

Conscious of the maxim that ‘you shouldn’t mark your own homework’, engaging FOTP Research, a specialist B2B research company, as an independent third party to work with you, is the best way forward.

We will work with you to:

  • Understand your requirements
  • Develop the survey
  • Conduct the supplier satisfaction research
  • Analyse the data and
  • Present the insights

Step 1: Scoping the target respondents and understanding your business

We hold initial meetings with our clients to achieve the following:

  • Clarify research requirements and potential areas to measure
  • Understand current processes and business characteristics
  • Select appropriate suppliers to gain feedback from
  • Recommend and agree an appropriate sample size
  • Provide a full project schedule to include timelines and deliverables

Step 2: Qualifying the core components of successful relationships with your suppliers

  • The key drivers of supplier relationship performance are identified by conducting a number of in-depth telephone interviews with a sample of your suppliers
  • The output of these interviews are clearly defined Performance Areas and the individual Performance Attributes that determine your supplier relationships and degree of supplier engagement
  • Alternatively, we can work directly with the client and based on our shared knowledge, can determine the list of Performance Areas and Attributes to be measured
  • An appropriate research solution is suggested and agreed upon, which could include online surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews and telephone interviews

Step 3: Measuring the pulse of your supplier satisfaction

  • An online survey with a combination of ratings and “open text” boxes is used to gain supplier feedback on how they rate your company on the agreed Performance Areas and Attributes
  • The Performance Areas and Attributes measured are those we defined from the earlier qualifying interviews and/or client discussions

Step 4: Reporting via scorecard and identifying supplier relationship strengths and weaknesses

Output of results include:

  • A supplier relationship health Scorecard
  • A measure of performance for each Performance Area and Attribute
  • Verbatim comments providing further insight into the ratings provided
  • Identified supplier relationship strengths and areas for improvement
  • Data analysis and recommendations to help you drive stronger supplier relationships
  • The FOTP Overall B2B Pulse score is 69.7. This is a solid score, based on feedback from 192 B2B Sales Professionals who took part in the survey.Whilst the last 12 months have been tough, there is more optimism about the future.  This is illustrated by two of the four metrics that make up the Pulse Score where “Business Performance for the next 12 months” scored 75.3, 8.2pts higher, compared to the score reflecting Business Performance of the previous 12 months (67.1).
  • When asked about strategic priorities for the next 12 months, there is a sense that B2B Sales Professionals are “shoring up” existing business/clients, rather than actively recruiting new clients.73% of B2B Sales Professionals indicated that “growing business with existing clients” was their top priority, compared to less than half saying the same about bringing in new clients.  In addition, 1 in 4 ranked “bringing in new clients” last in the list of priorities.

    Reinforcing this sense of consolidation, the other top ranked priorities focus on “understanding clients’ changing needs”, “adapting products and services to the changing market trends”, “driving New Product Development”, and “developing current and fresh ways of advertising/promotion”.

    More immediately, B2B Sales Professionals are having to counteract the impact of shortages in key product lines, with availability and supply chain disruption still causing significant issues. Businesses are developing a range of solutions to deal with this, from identifying/sourcing new or more reliable suppliers, focusing on forward planning/forecasting and adjusting product range/offering.

    Finally, when providing feedback on the Net Zero strategies, survey results confirmed that businesses were more likely to support their clients’ Net Zero targets, than have any of their own.  Time, having sufficient resources, internal commitment and having to prioritise other business issues are the main factors that divert focus from developing the Net Zero strategies internally.

    Relationships, while just as important as ever, are also impacted by ongoing covid restrictions. B2B Sales Professionals report that it is becoming increasingly difficult to build relationships with clients, with account reviews, sales conversations and even meeting new customers all happening via video calls

  • The key take-out, based on the survey findings, is that strong collaboration in trading relationships (customer-supplier) is going to be key in managing issues that are continuing to arise in the post-Covid and post-Brexit worlds.

    The overall Procurement/Supply Chain Pulse Score for the 1st wave is 67.0 which reflects the recent challenges and disruption.  Whilst Procurement/Supply Chain Professionals felt more confident about the next 12 months with nearly 60% stating that they expected their business performance to improve, the score was less positive when reflecting on the last year.

    Of note is that only 28% of the survey respondents were “very confident” that their business can deliver goods on time, in full and without damage. As the primary KPI for the Supply Chain teams, this illustrates that the disruptive events over the last 19 months have taken their toll on companies’ ability to fulfil orders.

    According to our survey, the single biggest issue today is the “Shortage of Drivers”. Whilst both Brexit and Covid have been a driver, Procurement and Supply Chain professionals were very clear that this has been an ongoing issue driven by an overall lack of training and investment over many years, causing the skills shortage we see today.

Click Here:  Supplier Engagement

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