I'm not an avid Metro reader. I suppose I'm one of those who will pick the newspaper up if it's occupying the seat I want on the bus. But flicking through yesterday, amongst the usual 'bumf', something peaked my interest. I noticed a piece referencing a recent poll from the Grocer:
Supermarkets 'are bullying suppliers.'
It expands to share the '9 out of 10 suppliers...' statistic that forms this post's title. It's short, sharp and does little to expand on the wider context of the survey nor the complexities of retailer/supplier relationships.
For me, it highlights the growing media trend of 'Public Enemy Number 1' - 'Corrupt' Bankers, 'Out-of-touch' Politicians and now 'Bullying' Supermarkets. Retailers have become an easy target for those looking to fill column inches.
Unfortunately, certain outdated and counterproductive procurement practises do still exist which undermine trust and collaboration. But the optimist in me likes to think that most retail professionals recognise – especially in the world of Own Brand - the value of a more collaborative approach, and are working towards mutually beneficial relationships with their suppliers.
I have had the pleasure of working with some individuals within retail who build strong, long-term relationships with their suppliers to do some truly inspirational things. In addition to the day-to-day of quality, compliance and new product development, they use successful Supplier Engagement to promote diversity, reduce the gender gap and promote a more sustainable way of living. All of which wouldn't be possible without the suppliers energy, focus and expertise.
As an industry, let’s hit back against this negative press by shouting about what we are doing to improve our relationships with suppliers. And let's shout even louder about the work we are doing, through successful Supplier Engagement, to change the world for the better.