The digitalization of procurement places the supplier relationship in an ever more interactive and conversational position. In line with the changes brought about in other business departments, like marketing, this modified relationship is opening up new spaces for interaction – portals – and leading to a new way of working together via a more participatory approach.
Collaborative platforms, new marketplaces
Collaborative platforms allow any supplier to log in and consult active invitations to tender, visualise performance indicators, revise contracts that are under discussion or step in on the ordering/billing process. Initiatives such as these are already in place. But for the time being they remain confined to the limits of single businesses, where a decision has been made to simplify the supplier consultation process.
A tool like this adds value in itself, but it can be taken further: ‘The idea would be to set up a network of clients for use by suppliers, who could then consult invitations to tender from several businesses all in one place,’ explains Franck Le Tendre. ‘And inversely, this type of system would give purchasers access to a pool of potential suppliers, not necessarily only their own suppliers, that may be interested in their consultations.’
We have already discussed the prospecting and search for innovation that is required of the new generation of buyers, so we appreciate the benefits procurement departments could reap from this type of marketplace.
A desirable change for supplier assessment systems
From the point of view of supplier assessment, establishing a collaborative portal would be a step forward. Assessment criteria are different from one buyer to another. Seeing the ratings given by other buyers would make it possible to sharpen supplier assessment, and potentially boost sourcing according to an ever-more complete set of parameters.
Like what TripAdvisor can offer consumers in B to C, applying the same approach to B to B would represent an added advantage for the buyer, who needs to be able to go one better everyday.
Of course, suppliers may at first feel exposed. This fear is part of the growth cycle of digital transition. But if we consider the current situation in B to C, we see that after initial reticence, the parties being rated have been able to take advantage of participatory assessments and use them to add value. They no longer think twice about using their score as a supplementary measure of trust for their clients, but also internally as a way of driving the quality of performance. Over time this is a real plus, giving purchasers ever-more virtuous suppliers.
In this matter we must look to the opportunity beyond the threat.
A big change in exterior business relationships
Beyond this, we must look to social media. Businesses and brands are observed in this way too, analyzed and commented on in real time. All this data is important and can enhance supplier relationships in the same way as marketing and communication. Over time you must be able to harness and process this data to use it in procurement.
The question of third parties is also relevant. As part of collaborative procurement platforms we can imagine bringing in third parties like banks, which would become proactive in matters of factoring, by having all the data on financing the treasury.
Tomorrow, these marketplaces will arrive in the world of procurement departments. At Synertrade we have not only identified this trend but we can also make these platforms, building the solutions to drive this type of working method by helping to channel and organise data, to make it generate progress and add value.