It’s now week 3 of my series of posts about increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and speed of your supply chain data collection campaigns. So far, we’ve looked at the need to contact the right person, to communicate why you’re asking them for data, and to make sure they understand how to respond to your request.
Can I deal with this quickly and efficiently?
Remember the formula for successful Supply Chain data collection? “How difficult is it to provide the requested data? vs. What is the incentive and priority for my suppliers?” This week I want to focus particularly on how to make things easier for the person receiving your request for data.
Tip 3: Make it simple to complete (or pass on to the right person)
In my opinion - based on experience - most people would rather deal with an email straight away. Once it passes into the ever growing to-do list, the chances that anything will be done about it reduce significantly. So, to help the people who receive your request for data, there are a few best practices that you should follow.
- Make it a “5 minute” task request. Keep the amount of information that you’re asking for to a minimum. You might consider sending multiple smaller requests for data, spaced out over time, as opposed to one big one.
- Seed any data that you have which make it easier for the supplier to respond. For example, pre-fill forms or spreadsheets with the product codes and names of items you want data about.
- Where the request is to be completed in an online form, consider how easy it will be for the user to access. Why not remove the need to log in with a password and instead provide a direct, secure link.
- If there's a need to get someone else involved, make it simple for people to delegate responsibility to a colleague, so that reminders also get transferred to this contact.
Typically: Suppliers are routinely expected to start from scratch when it comes to data collection campaigns, receiving an empty spread-sheet with a request to enter a long list of product SKUs and descriptions. Too often, the wrong person gets the request in any case, and it is unclear what data is required, or why. If the request has to be forwarded, this usually results in the wrong person being chased for the data. As a result, the data collection campaign yields poor results.
In my next blog in this series, we will look at how you can make sure that suppliers prioritise your requests for data.