ProcurementSupplier CollaborationSupplier EventsJune 16, 2022by Isha SharmaWhat is a Supplier Day and Why is it important?

Supplier day has been around for years, and yet many organisations know very little about what it is and just how much it can help them. Suppliers are one of the most valuable assets within any organisation but in order to foster stronger relationships and gain alignment on your core values, you need more than your standard forms of communications. You need a supplier day!

 

What is a supplier day? 

 

In very simple terms: A supplier day is a Procurement-based event that aims to bring suppliers and stakeholders together. 

Spanning anywhere from an afternoon to a week, traditional supplier days are conference-style events held by enterprises looking to engage with their suppliers.  They are often designed to relay key strategic updates and messages, address pressing industry topics, and hold workshops that foster collaboration and engagement. They are also a medium from which organisations can assess the capabilities of their suppliers in helping them achieve their business needs.  

They can be the perfect foundation to incite long-term innovation and collaboration throughout all levels of your supplier ecosystem. A supplier day is the first step in uncovering the hidden potential of your supply chain and holds the power to alter an organisation’s entire supplier relationship management programme. 

 

Why is your supply chain so important?

 

Organisations need to ensure they continue to hit their targets whilst reassessing their agendas and employing new tactics in response to changing market conditions. Although consumer trends can be observed, and some believe they can be predicted, companies can be left short-changed if they are not prepared to tackle and/or participate in any important conversations that arise. 

A clear understanding of their stance and then corresponding strategies to these conversations allows organisations to become increasingly resilient and refines their ability to handle market changes with minimal disruption. Unfortunately, none of this is possible without the support and alignment of an organisation’s supply chain. 

An organisation outsources roughly 55-65% of its innovation, so when it comes to inciting change and progress within your organisation, it is your suppliers that are the true torchbearers. 

Suppliers are mission-critical to achieving your corporate goals. If your suppliers have aligned themselves with your strategies, are championing your initiatives, and have been able to adopt any required changes within their way of working, you can rest assured that you are well on your way to achieving your goals. 

 

So how can a supplier day help organisations to align with their suppliers?

 

Whether it is Net Zero, Risk & Resilience, Diversity & Inclusion, or any other strategic thrusts, your supply chain, like any good team, works best when they understand their customer’s objectives and can buy into their visions for the future. And that is what a supplier day allows you to do. 

It is a rare opportunity for organisations to see their global suppliers in one place – and an even rarer chance to be able to address them directly – making it the best moment for Procurement leaders, C-suite, and senior stakeholders to pitch their strategies for growth, progression, and innovation. 

For an organisation, a supplier day is the most efficient way to convey information and updates to a targeted audience, whilst also selling the future of their organisation. And for suppliers, it is a way for them to bypass traditional corporate hierarchy and present their own ideas directly to leadership. It is also a chance for them to relay the support they require from these companies to help bring these ideas to life.  

A supplier day is an ecosystem in action, composed of each level of your supply chain working harmoniously together. You create an environment in which collaboration and innovation can flourish, all by opening a platform from which suppliers can connect with their customers as well as each other. Is it a chance to work WITH your suppliers, not around them!

Developing a symbiotic relationship that encourages fresh ideas and increased communication may seem hard to establish, but once developed it is simple to maintain. Smaller, more frequent events are key to nurturing the relationship with your suppliers and help ensure that your supplier day produced your desired ROI.

 

What are the benefits of a Supplier Day

 

Create open and meaningful dialogue

 

Suppliers can bypass the standard corporate hierarchy to connect directly with senior stakeholders, Procurement leadership, and C-suites. The opportunity to speak with those who help bring your product/services to your end consumer is a valuable component for any company with a global supply chain. Similarly, the conversation can go both ways, with suppliers having the chance to bring their experience and opinions to the table. 

Large organisations tend to have suppliers on multiple continents, and a supplier day surpasses the daily restrictions of location and timezone by addressing a vast majority of their supply chain in one location. By doing so, your reach to your suppliers increases exponentially. 

The purpose of your supplier day is completely your choice. Whether you want to raise awareness, education, debate or simply celebrate, all is possible and can be made meaningful through clear and open dialogue. 

 

Secure yourself as a Customer of Choice

 

Traditionally a supplier would align themselves with organisations and leverage their products and services to further the ambition of their customers. However, as the value of suppliers begins to shine through, so does their desire to be selective with the companies they work with. 

Suppliers are looking to align themselves with companies that better represent their visions and provide the potential for growth. Once they have selected a company as their preferred customer, they would be more willing to invest in R&D to develop new solutions, share innovation, and favour the customers with preferential terms where required. Being the customer of choice with strategic suppliers and securing strong alignment with them is essential to any company looking to gain a competitive advantage.

A supplier day helps you to secure these favourable terms by building your brand as a customer of choice. In doing so, you can onboard new suppliers into your network faster, foster a strong and desirable relationship from the get-go and nurture your relationships with your existing suppliers. 

 

Create long-lasting Impact

 

Of course, the goal of any event is to create impact, and this is all the more important when dealing with your supply chain. The impact you create sets the foundation of your relationship with your suppliers as well as your supplier engagement strategies. 

A supplier day helps create real impact that has a lasting effect across your supply chain, ensuring suppliers aren’t just aligned with your company’s overall vision but are excited about it and want to actively contribute to achieving it. Simply put, it helps to reinforce the behaviours you want to see over the long term.

But creating impact isn’t just about dazzling your suppliers with your ideas and visions, it is equally about influencing your attendees in a way which would help you cultivate the best ROI from your event. The long-lasting impact of a correctly executed supplier day sets up any organisation with a range of dedicated suppliers and stakeholders, invoking long-term supplier collaboration and innovation. 

 

So, why not just send an email? 

 

Suppliers are one of the most important elements within any organisation. They provide the innovation, resources, and services needed both by companies and their end consumers. This makes any attempts at communication with them incredibly valuable. Would you allow such an important relationship to be confined solely to an email?

The distribution method of key information is just as strategic as the information itself. Choosing the correct medium of correspondence directly impacts the way that information is absorbed, by its intended audience, and translates into their daily way of working. Unfortunately for your global supply chain, emails are a form of passive communication. They ultimately strip the urgency and importance of your messages, resulting in suppliers being less likely to follow through with your call to action. Should you limit your communication with suppliers solely to email, you risk losing their support and alignment on your current and future strategies. 

 

An email does not provide enough detail

 

Emails are effective in relaying updates and key points but fail when it comes to sharing complex information or deeper knowledge. Whether it’s the importance of a subject to a company or their next steps to achieve their goals, emails can only cover the general concept, leaving suppliers as a 3rd party observers to conversations which directly affect them. 

 

You risk stifling conversations

 

One of the biggest draws of a supplier day is the flow of conversation. From panel discussions to networking sessions, these conversations enlighten listeners and act as doorways to similar, relevant subjects. And, with a little nudge, suppliers themselves can raise, discuss, and guide important conversations to produce the most beneficial outcomes, for both themselves and others present. 

Emails are a one-dimensional form of communication, it lacks the ability to incite a two-way dialogue and risks stifling conversation that could benefit from the input of your suppliers from across your supply chain network. 

 

It hinders the creation of long-lasting relationships 

 

Finally, emails lack an emotional connection with their reader, without which a long-lasting relationship can not be developed. Like any good relationship, the need to see eye-to-eye is crucial for its development and maintenance, but an email removes any humanistic element in its entirety. You are left with a basic, uninspiring form of communication that does nothing to show your suppliers how much value they truly hold within your organisation. No matter if you are dealing with new or existing suppliers, all deserve the chance to form long-lasting meaningful relationships with their customers, and that is best done with an event that places suppliers at the heart of it all.

 

So after all this, you must be wondering, do I need a Supplier Day?

 

YES! Unequivocally yes – If you are part of an organisation with strategic suppliers, then you should certainly host a Supplier day

Your suppliers, no matter their size or function, all help to achieve your company’s wider purpose and, for that, they deserve an occasion that is designed to recognise their contribution and overall importance, especially in the presence of C-levels, Procurement leaders, and supply chain management

There is no right reason to host a supplier day. Whether you are looking to entertain, educate, raise awareness, or simply update, a supplier day is a versatile platform that takes your event’s core purpose and transforms it into a foundation from which to launch, develop and maintain your supplier relationships.

 

What we do at Supplier Day

 

At Supplier Day, we take the best parts of a traditional, physical supplier day and make it virtual. Whether you are embarking on a new endeavour, or want to provide corporate updates to your supplier and stakeholders, our virtual supplier day connects leadership to their target audience, all at a fraction of the financial and carbon cost of a physical event. 

Supplier Day leverages the power of virtual events to overcome constraints around travel, time zones, and venue capacity and create bespoke supplier events that encourage communication and collaboration between our clients and their suppliers. Our goal is to help our clients produce long-term sustainable impact, both for the environment and their supplier relationship management. 

Our supplier days provide a (virtual) platform from which any sized organisation can reach their supply chain and tap into the true value of their suppliers, encouraging innovation and collaboration through interactive and engaging methods including workshops, panel discussions, and live Q&A. 

Some of the benefits of hosting your supply chain virtually include a 166% increase in supply attendance and a 70% reduction in costs (vs a physical event), all while saving an average of 300 tonnes of carbon emissions. 

No matter what your goals are, a supplier day is a perfect opportunity to advance sustainability, drive innovation and maximise your ROI across your global supply chain network

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