How Supplier Self-Help can Drive Private Brand Supplier Performance Management (SPM)
My colleague David has previously posted a blog on the value of Supplier Self-Help, given the pressures on both Retailers and Suppliers to be ‘Lean’; to reduce costs and to focus resources. (Click here to read Five Reasons Your Business Should Adopt Supplier Self-Help)
Supplier Self-Help is about giving your audience convenient 24/7 access to the information and answers they need to perform. From training material and how-to videos to FAQs, and one important part of this is related to Visual Management and specific KPI.
In this day and age we all want everything at our fingers tips and delivered yesterday!
As I said in my last blog post, Visual Management through KPI ‘Dashboards’ for your suppliers can help transparency, motivation and understanding so that Suppliers can focus on the things that matter to you and to your Brand. Part of this is how to improve… if someone is ‘Red’ on their Scorecard explain why, and what they have to do in order to ‘fix’ it.
When working with Retailers part of my job is to ensure that each KPI has an answer to the question “How do I improve this score?” This means explaining to the Supplier what the score means; in particular, how the score is derived or calculated. Ideally this also includes why the KPI matters; this helps with understanding and motivation. This Answer then highlights to the supplier what they need to do, potentially linking to Knowledgebase Answers for more detail on ‘how to’ complete the tasks (which could be further guides, videos or e-Learning material). There are many benefits to working like this but having the content available 24/7 so that the Supplier can get these answers even when you are not available has to be the biggy for me!
However, beware that Suppliers are all too keen to abandon an online centre whether or not the layout is beautiful and enticing. The key is to optimize the layout for the Supplier journey and to keep knowledgebase content fresh, relevant and optimized to WOW all readers. This is why we always to have the link there… right next to the dashboard, so the Supplier has the answers there at their fingertips.
Enhance your supplier’s experience, improve your performance management
A few general rules of thumb I recommend to my clients above all else when working with a Self-Help knowledge base:
- ALWAYS continuously review and improve your knowledge base articles
- Encourage Suppliers to rate articles/answers and provide feedback to help you improve
- And, keep the Supplier’s journey in mind when writing a knowledge base article
I often hear from clients that there is a lack of overall visibility on common enquiry trends. Specifically, what are common questions, issues and information gaps. I believe that this is because multiple individuals in their organisation are fielding questions from Suppliers. Using a Supplier Self- Help knowledge base gives you the visibility of what Suppliers are searching for and whether they rate the answers that they find. This not only allows you to identify common themes but you can create knowledge to fill potential gaps before they become a problem making managing your supplier’s performance near on an impossible task.
Enhance your Supplier’s experience and improve your performance
Supplier Self-Help systems should make the Supplier - Retailer working relationship a lot easier and more effective; allowing you, the Retailer to focus on the things that really matter. This encourages a more productive and collaborative relationship which in turn will have a direct and positive effect on not only their performance, but also your own efficiency.