Three reasons why review meetings get the best from your print suppliers

Can you imagine having an operation without any follow-up?

Can you imagine having a job without an annual review?

Will you appoint a supplier and not review the performance?

I am always surprised at the amount of buyers who do not run supplier reviews

Supplier reviews can be about much more than measurement

Supplier reviews should be about much more than measurement

Buyers who run supplier review meetings will create better partnerships in their supply chain. They will also have better control over supplier performance. They are more likely to achieve what they need to when they run projects.

Buyers who do not use supplier reviews may find it harder to achieve the right results from their supply chain. They won’t have the same level of control over supplier performance. They are more likely to be treating their suppliers as commodity manufacturers. That means they will get a service to match.

Supplier reviews are a great way to avoid these problems. Here are three other reasons why you should use them.

Supplier reviews improve performance

Supplier reviews are a great way to measure performance of both supplier and client. A well-run review will often result in improved performance for both parties.

Because performance is being looked at in a dedicated meeting it is possible to observe trends. Often it is possible to see issues and deal with them before they become major problems. That means that you and your team will often spend a lot less time fire fighting as well.

However, supplier reviews should be about more than just performance.

Supplier reviews improve relationships

It can be hard to get the best out of your supplier if you only communicate with them on an operational level. It can be surprising just how beneficial a strategic conversation can be if there are no immediate pressing issues.

Supplier reviews are a good opportunity for each company to understand more about the other. It is important to understand what your suppliers would like in an ideal world. It is important to understand how they are evolving and if they are investing.

Sometimes these conversations show that their relationship is coming towards the end of its life. You have time to find a new supplier. But much more often, these conversations highlight real opportunities. So here’s a third reason to run supply reviews.

Supplier reviews are an opportunity to discuss cost saving projects

I always put cost saving projects on the agenda for supplier reviews. A supplier review is a great way to sit back and look at how things are done. Often, with a bit of brainstorming, new solutions and processes become apparent.

If these ideas are acted upon, there can be substantial cost savings for both parties.

Let’s look at how a supplier review worked in real life

I once appointed a new magazine printer at a company where I worked. They were not used to supply reviews. In fact, they were a bit suspicious of them. They saw them as an opportunity for me to beat a supplier up.

They had good reason to be nervous because their account management was definitely below the level that was required. They expected to be given a hard time about this. However, we were able to have a conversation in a considered atmosphere. We were not trying to deal with immediate issues.

This meant that we had a positive dialogue. We created a path forward with action points. Account management swiftly improved.

However, some people just don’t see these advantages.

Aren’t supplier reviews just a talking shop and a waste of time?

If supplier reviews are seen in this way it means that there are opportunities to improve the way they are run. A supplier review needs a structured agenda and proper performance feedback. Then it will nearly always get good results.

Here are three action points to get you on the road to a successful supplier review

  1. Highlight three key suppliers who would benefit from a review
  2. Set a time and date for a reviewed with each supplier
  3. Create an agenda for the reviews

You’ll soon find that supplier reviews are a natural part of your buying process

They will be just as natural as your annual job review. Or as a follow-up to an operation.

In my next article, I will cover some of the questions you should ask the supplier review in more detail.
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