Conducting Supplier Satisfaction Research – Introduction

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

This is the most efficient and effective method of undertaking independent and objective Supplier Satisfaction Research. This can then be expanded into supplier engagement tracking survey, to measure change/progress on an on-going and regular basis.

Supplier Satisfaction Research – How we do it

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

Conducting Supplier Satisfaction Research – Types of Surveys

Annual Supplier Satisfaction Survey

The better you know your suppliers and the stronger the relationships, the more likely your business will benefit from dedicated support which should in turn deliver reduced costs, improved efficiency and continuous operational improvement and competitive advantage.

In addition, actionable insights from the survey will enable you to drive stronger collaboration with your suppliers.

Voice of the Supplier (VoS) Programme

In a fast-changing environment, there is often a clear need to have more frequent feedback.  VoS is an ideal tool to deliver a more regular assessment of your business relationship with suppliers:

  • To gauge the level of commitment suppliers have for your business
  • To have an “early warning” of any potential issues

QuickPulse Surveys

This is an ideal tool to deliver real-time and cost-efficient feedback when you are looking to gain insights on a specific topic.

In addition, this could be used to get tactical feedback to support a strategic initiative (e.g. gauging success on recently introduced initiatives or focusing on getting additional insights from a specific supplier group).

Conducting Supplier Satisfaction Research – Benefits

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Improved business relationships and supplier engagement

Asking for and getting feedback from your suppliers through one of our Supplier Satisfaction Surveys will demonstrate to them that you are genuinely interested in their views about the quality of your relationship with them. Responding to and acting to address your suppliers’ concerns will generate goodwill and foster increased collaboration.

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Strategic Alignment

Clear and objective measures, based on findings from our Supplier Satisfaction Surveys, of how your suppliers feel about the strategic alignment you have with them, will enable your business to review and adapt your supplier relationship management strategy, as appropriate. This will grow the level of supplier engagement and improve business relationships.

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Competitive Advantage

The better you know your suppliers and the stronger the relationships, the more likely your business will benefit from dedicated support.  This should in turn deliver reduced costs, improved efficiency & continuous operational improvement, resulting in a competitive advantage.  Suppliers are also more likely to share their innovation ideas and offer exclusivity (“first to market”) to those companies that work more closely with them.

Anticipate Flexibility

Continuous engagement & improvement

How can you drive a culture of continuous engagement & improvement and deliver an effective Supplier Relationship Management without having regular & objective feedback from your suppliers, through an independent third party? Actionable insights from our Supplier Satisfaction Surveys will illustrate how you can continue to develop a collaborative partnership with suppliers and how you can continue to strive to deliver mutual growth over time.

Your suppliers are key in supporting your company on the journey to deliver against a number of strategic objectives.  Getting a clear understanding of your suppliers’ views will ensure increased collaboration from them.