Supplier spotlight - building greater transparency with customers
Today’s Consumers want to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced and the impact it has on the environment. From a supplier perspective, embracing advances in procurement technology to help improve that level of transparency, means they can stay relevant to customer demands.
Transparency across the supply chain has become a key factor in building customer trust and loyalty. Today’s Consumers want to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced and the impact it has on the environment. With this in mind, hospitality operators are looking to work with more transparent and competitive suppliers. From a supplier perspective, embracing advances in procurement technology to help improve that level of transparency, means they can stay relevant to customer demands.
At Zupa we’ve seen the supplier landscape change dramatically over the last decade, particularly in the wake of procure-to-pay (P2P) systems, which have become more established and technologically advanced. Telesales departments have been transformed by online services that allow customer orders to filter directly into the suppliers’ back-office system, either via their own web shop front, or via a third-party system like Caternet. In the early days, orders from third-party systems didn’t have the integration capabilities to seamlessly capture and process the data within the suppliers’ back-office systems. In fact, it often required the same headcount as those in the telesales team, to rekey the orders from P2P platforms into their own systems. This led to a great deal of wasted time and resource.
One of the key benefits that procurement technology delivers for suppliers today is improved supply chain visibility for customers. With the help of digital platforms like Caternet, suppliers can now track and monitor every step of the customer transaction, from the sourcing of ingredients, right through to final delivery of the goods. This level of visibility allows suppliers to identify any potential bottlenecks at their end, mitigate risks, and ensure compliance with food safety and quality standards. By sharing this information with customers, suppliers can build greater trust and demonstrate their commitment to transparency and service level.
Staying relevant as a supplier is also becoming ever more important and transparency is a big part of that. Today, hospitality businesses can choose from a wide variety of suppliers, so differentiating your offering is vital. Procurement technology allows suppliers to collect and analyse accurate data regarding their performance so they can make more informed decisions. Likewise, gaining insight into key metrics such as lead times and operational performance, can also help to identify areas for improvement. For example, a supplier might wish to demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement or provide evidence of their efforts to deliver better quality ingredients or more sustainable goods. Using the right technology to highlight this will help to strengthen customer relationships while allowing the supplier to adjust their offerings according to changing market demands.
Our suppliers have previously told us that they would set aside time (usually after the order cut off deadline) to go through the P2P systems and retrieve client orders, before rekeying these into their own systems. The benefit here was ring-fenced time each day to perform that task, as opposed to being interrupted by intermittent phone calls from customers throughout the day. This focus allowed suppliers to be more strategic when it came to customer account management.
Such scenarios have moved on today with a greater adoption around EDI capabilities. Therefore, the need to rekey orders has become less commonplace and with it a reduction in manual rekeying errors. For suppliers, being able to send product and price information over the same mechanism has resulted in less reliance on suppliers having to physically log into third party systems. This in turn, has freed up their time to do the things they love – focusing on quality customer service.
According to research, 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete supply chain transparency. For many companies, lack of transparency results in a lack of trust on the part of the buyer. For suppliers to build resilience long term, they need to utilise technology that nurtures strong customer relationships, whether that means improving visibility across the board or delivering a quality service that is both competitive and relevant. These are the elements that will add maximum value to business and client relationships in the future.
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