The Interview

Having worked for a major retailer for ten years, in various roles, I was ready for a change and wanted a fresh challenge where I could use my industry knowledge.

I was invited for an interview at Solutions 4 Retail Brands (S4RB), the Supplier Engagement Experts, and as part of my interview I was tasked with writing a blog about my understanding of what Supplier Engagement is.

A week in to the role and I’ve realised that boy, was I missing a key piece of the puzzle and, ultimately, the bigger picture.

This is what I wrote:


Involved, valued and recognised

This is how supplier engagement makes your suppliers feel.

By sharing your company goals and understanding those of your suppliers you gain an understanding into what is, respectively, important and bring your suppliers along on your journey which engenders brand commitment within them.

This commitment to your brand will ensure your suppliers positively impact your operation by completing tasks asked of them in line with your preference and standards in a timely manner and will also drive efficiencies of processes and costs, ultimately delivering retail growth.

This is all achieved by investing time in your suppliers to build the relationship with them and by being transparent about what is important to you.

It is also achieved by following a simple 5 step model whereby you:

1. Identify the key areas in supply chain including the suppliers
2. Categorise these suppliers into high, medium and low-risk
3. Set a baseline and targets
4. Implement a tailored engagement strategy for each supplier category
5. Monitor progress against agreed targets

This simple 5 step model must be underpinned by a robust software solution which integrates all of the above into your processes and streamlines it.

In addition to retail growth, through supplier engagement you will also ensure:

  • Better data, in a standardised format, making it simpler to use and inform future plans
  • Increased transparency of your supply chain ensuring ethical products, service or goods
  • Any risks to your brand will be highlighted allowing you to mitigate these

If you have not already engaged your suppliers, then it is really important you start today and bring them along on your journey; after all you wouldn’t get into any other partnership without first understanding what was important to the other, would you?


Tune in next week for an update on what the missing piece of the puzzle is. It’s so simple you’ll kick yourself if you’re anything like me.

Tags: Supplier engagement

Team S4RB

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