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AOP BlogSupplier Management

Doing What’s Necessary to Achieve the Impossible

By August 24, 2021No Comments

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible. Before you know it, you’re doing the impossible.” – Quentin Roach, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain & Chief Procurement Officer at Mondelez International

In March of 2021, Quentin Roach, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain & Chief Procurement Officer at Mondelez International, joined me as a guest on Dial P for Procurement. Our topic was ‘Driving Innovation Through the Supplier Experience.’

Most procurement teams have a long way to go before they can claim to be delivering an exceptional experience for their suppliers, let alone driving innovation through that experience. And yet – as we read in the advice Quentin received from his father (quoted above), doing what’s necessary is often the first step towards achieving the impossible.

In this context then, what is it necessary for procurement to do or know with regard to suppliers before they can create a differentiating supplier experience? According to Quentin, procurement should:

  • Know who your suppliers are for each product or service and which person to contact at each supplier for specific needs
  • Understand the connections between your suppliers’ abilities and the value your company provides to your customers
  • Be able to identify where a supplier manages production or stores inventory v. where their headquarters is located
  • Foster mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers so that procurement is helping them as much as they are helping procurement

If supplier management – and, ultimately, the creation of a supplier experience – are to be successful, they need to be approached holistically. Procurement must provide suppliers with a frictionless onboarding process (or at least a streamlined one) and the company must pay those suppliers on time. Procurement systems should ensure that everyone has up-to-date data, even as circumstances force business plans to change. 

Achieving the impossible starts with doing what’s necessary for our suppliers to be successful on our behalf – through process, technology, and mindset.

For more on supplier experience from Quentin Roach, you can watch or listen to this episode of Dial P for Procurement on Supply Chain Now here.

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