OMNIA Partners Blog

The Importance of Understanding Your Supplier Network

Posted by OMNIA Partners on August 07, 2016

Prime Advantage, an OMNIA Partner, has invited industry experts to share their insights on the present and future of manufacturing success. In this post, Shruti Agrawal of Excella Worldwide examines principles for strengthening supplier relationships.

supplier-networkIn today’s complex and ever-changing business world, companies must keep up their A-game and rise above their competitors. A powerful way to do this is for a company to understand every nook and cranny of their supplier networks.


Not only does this save big bucks, but it also benefits multiple departments in the organization, including supply chain, finance, manufacturing, procurement, social collaboration, sustainability human resource management, etc. Any sourcing agent who adopts a 360-degree view of their supplier base is sure to reach the top of the corporate ladder and build strong corporate relationships.

Want to stay ahead of your competitors? Here are some guidelines to help you enhance your supplier database and relationships:

Step 1: Stepping Stone: Data Generation

Supplier lifecycle management is not a one-day process; it requires dedication, effort and precision. Data must be compiled and stored in a single database from where information can be retrieved both easily and effortlessly.

It must be obtained in such a manner as to gain a common or comparative view of suppliers based on their supplier data. This data must be generated from both internal and external sourcing. One main internal system must be maintained to house all the supplier information in one place.

Step 2: Take Charge: Supplier Dashboards

A supplier information dashboard is the nervous system for any supplier management program. Every organization has a surge of records that need to be organized and controlled.

Dashboards are the answer to this data overflow, creating a critical link for the enterprise by displaying the big picture with a benchmark and the ability to pinpoint the types of suppliers the company is dealing with. This can help to categorize which suppliers to avoid (those with conflicted interests) and which of them merit further investment.

Furthermore, dashboards allow for the creation of communication lines that share and exchange business user rankings, intuitive visuals, performance feedback, and risk drivers directly related to supply management.

Step 3: Dig In: The 360-degree View

This can be done through the installation of advanced platform technologies and increased data utilization by third party and internal suppliers. This is necessary to stay a step ahead in today’s global economy.

Here’s how:

  1. The 5Ws – Who, What, Where, When, Why and How for supply teams and supplier information
  2. Revisit the Past – Scanning for duplicate vendors and cutting down costs
  3. Dashboard It – By what you want to track, hide and share with your suppliers

More Benefits

Building supplier networks offers added perks and privileges for sourcing agents:

1. Automation vs. Manual

Limit manual work by adopting data entry automation which helps save time, effort and costs.

2. Catalog Management

Upload multiple catalogs with prices, special offers, product specifications, etc. for different suppliers.

3. Easier Sourcing Processes

Respond to sourcing events through an interactive forum.

4. E-Invoicing and Minimization of Errors

Minimize paperwork; crosscheck purchases, sales, orders, invoices with easy transferring and reduction of errors and time delays.

5. Contract Management

Stay aware of commitments and expectations by keeping a close eye on contractual terms and agreements, reducing violations and misconceptions.

6. Reduced Purchasing Times

Generate a smooth flow of information and timely processing.

7. Supplier Information Updates

Update the latest information through quick editing and upgrades.

8. Transparent Relationships

Create clear visibility of orders and payments, thus building better collaboration and understanding.

9. Supplier Performance Enhancement

Monitor performance and development reports through performance and development program cards.

Supplier networks establish better performance tracking and matriculation, as well as vastly reduce supply chain risks, thereby boosting company reputation, stability and growth. It is therefore critical to gain an understanding of supplier networks as well as a working knowledge of how to monitor them.

A company that wishes to realize its full capacity may find that a well-tooled sourcing agent is the best choice to help manage local and foreign supplier networks alike. 

Topics: Group Purchasing Organization, Supply Chain Management, Procurement