A U.S retailer that believes in the renewal of American manufacturing, made a commitment to purchase tens of billions of dollars in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. over a multi-year period.
A key success factor in delivering on this pledge is an annual U.S. manufacturing supplier summit at which over a thousand entrepreneurs have the opportunity to showcase their products directly to the retailer’s buying teams.
The retailer recognized that having face-to-face time with their buyers can often be extremely difficult for suppliers and even more so for manufacturers not yet supplying them. The retailer understood that by increasing these opportunities it would in turn help increase suppliers’ commitment. The retailer required a way of managing an event of rapid short-burst meetings, allowing suppliers maximum exposure and giving buyers access to new home-grown talent. The key to success is in the preparation. Ensuring both suppliers and buyers had information about each other at their fingertips made for swift and productive encounters. Better yet, the ability to provide suppliers with the latest information and expert knowledge throughout the year, not simply around the supplier summit, was a cornerstone of the effective engagement required for a successful event.
It was decided that, using S4RB’s expertise in supplier engagement, an initiative-specific web portal be created based on S4RB’s Affinity™ Engage platform where suppliers could search knowledge, register product proposals and schedule meetings on the day. The portal streamlined the vetting process prior to these meetings and ensured both parties had everything they needed for an effective and valuable conversation. Using the web portal, both the retailer and the supplier can track the progress of their proposals, communicate next steps and take necessary actions if required. For the supplier, they have efficient 24/7 access to insights from industry experts about the minimum requirements for doing business with the retailer and how to bring more manufacturing back to the U.S. to allow it to be certified ‘Made in the USA’. For the retailer, they now had a time-saving tool that facilitated clear communication with suppliers about the expectations and benefits of the supplier summit event. But also, the technical capability to ensure no meetings clashed and the risk of suppliers not turning up to meetings was minimized.
“First time at the event. It was pretty incredible both from the depth and breadth of the material presented as well as the opportunity itself. The financial and employee resources commitment the retailer is making to job creation and growth in the US is the gold standard for every company in any industry to follow. I wish more Americans truly understood what the retailer is doing.”
- A private brand supplier
This particular supplier summit event facilitated over 700 supplier-buyer meetings across hundreds of categories. Increasing access to buyers on this scale resulted in over 350 unique projects across more than 40 different departments. As a result of the web portal, well over 1,000 new product proposals were registered by existing and potential suppliers across the United States. All of this was possible with a fraction of the resource. Meetings were automatically scheduled based on room availability and location. In addition to the efficiency saving around the event communications and booking, the portal reduced the review time per buyer and answered over 25,000 supplier queries with an estimated cost saving to date of $240K. Supplier and proposal information was saved and stored for future review and the supplier was notified of any next steps on the retailer’s behalf, taking that extra burden from the buyer.
“It has gotten better and better every year. Very well organized and the buyers are all outstanding. At the reception last night, we heard nothing but very positive comments and a lot of excitement from all present. Overall a great sales opportunity for sales and a tremendous goodwill event to show that the retailer cares about America and the small person can participate in all that the retailer is.”
- A private brand supplier
> Over 500 supplier-buyer meetings
> Over 1000 new product proposals to date
> Over $240k cost savings