Insights & Ideas

Can you trust your suppliers?

Europe has been rocked by the horsemeat scandal of late and many consumers are scratching their heads and asking “how can retailers not know what’s in their products?”

The damage to some brands will take a very long time to repair as millions of products are withdrawn and consumer confidence takes a dive.

This raises an important question for any large organization, retailer or otherwise – can you really trust your suppliers? What can you do to improve that trust?

I’ve cited numerous cases of fraud on this blog and these have often involved suppliers. As your organization grows in size and complexity it’s often more difficult to discover these breaks in trust.

In one utilities organization, we found scores of contracts that were effectively dormant but the suppliers were still submitting a variety of fees throughout the year. The route to discovering these issues lay, as ever, in the quality of the data on offer. By bringing together disparate datasets and viewing the information from a completely different angle, we were able to build up a much clearer picture of supplier trust.

Of course external data can help even more in this situation. Credit ratings, court notices, annual accounts – there is so much data available than can be used to enrich your perspective of a supplier yet it’s so rarely used.

As the horsemeat scandal has shown us, you can’t become too complacent when your business is built upon a sound supplier network.

What data do you have at your fingertips right now that measures trust in your suppliers? Is it enough? Where could you improve? All important questions but so often very few answers.

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