The 9 Things SRM can Learn from Facebook
September 26, 2016
Alex Short
2 minutes

So… Is Facebook the greatest Supplier Relationship Management tool ever created?

Hear me out. Facebook covers a number of the key facets that are important to successfully managing supplier relationships and driving value from them. If I replace the fact that all actions of Facebook are carried out with friends or friends of friends and replace that with suppliers and third party vendors then you get the following:

  1. 100% visibility of what your suppliers are doing on a continuous basis. They share everything from their key achievements to business updates and conversations they are having with other members of your team (photos, status updates, videos, events).
  1. A Full track record of all 1 to 1 activities. Every conversation had with an individual is captured and data stamped for me to look back on. I can search as far back as my first conversation with an individual and be enlightened on our shared history. Conversations can happen in the open allowing for others to get involved and give their 2 cents worth or behind closed doors for the more sensitive matters.
  1. Groups can be set up to talk about ideas, innovations, ongoing projects and it’s simple, secure and easy to invite guests from both businesses no matter where they sit. Team-to-team collaboration made simple with basic commands like comment, share and like.
  1. News feed to share updates with my entire community or just specific companies and individuals. The news feed is also populated with information that is relevant and important to me and my relationships. This not only comes from those within the relationship but also scrapes the internet for up to date and relevant news on my suppliers. WOW this gives me a broader view than I have ever had.
  1. Trending stories. Price fluctuations, fires, in fact, any business risks can be brought to you and delivered into that single relationship. Finally data and information that works to empower employees on a continuous basis.
  1. Key milestones (birthdays, leaving parties etc) are celebrated by myself and my suppliers with the action to congratulate and share in the success. This drives shared goals and celebrations of the wins businesses work so hard to put together. It also lays out key roadmaps that both businesses can work towards and delegate the actions out to on both sides of the fence, stuff actually gets done.
  1. Checkin’s always know where your key contacts are in your area incase you want to line up a quick meeting or just as importantly they are abroad and you can’t get hold of them.
  1. Supplier search. You can find new suppliers simply by typing in their names, capabilities or anything to be honest. Up will pop a profile and an overview of what they do who they are connected with that you know and who the best contact within that business is.
  1. It’s simple to use, no training is required whatsoever. My mother can use it and oh guess what it works on every device no matter where I am in the world.

And the icing on the cake is that all your other business solutions can plug right into it, whether this be your spend analytics solution or your hideous ERP system and guess what? It makes sense of the data and gives it to you in a useable format, performance figures and all.

Your IT team will be over the moon as well, as its safe secure and allows them to develop their own apps and plugins.

Tell me this doesn’t make sense. Tell me that if we had a tool like this our strategic supplier relationships wouldn’t drive 10x more value? This visibility and ability to collaborate seamlessly with our strategic suppliers would redefine procurement for ever. Not only helping it drive more value, innovations and savings but also ensure we are better connected to the business ensuring we are finally recognised for the work we do.

Stop talking about taking this approach to your strategic suppliers and start doing something about it. This is by no means rocket science we must nurture develop and work with our suppliers much like we do our friends. And technology like Facebook and Vizibl are the catalyst to ensure we can do this on a grand scale. Time to take action.

Want to know what is missing to make it the perfect solution? Then either check out Vizibl that does all of the above and more or wait for next week’s blog post!!

Procurement blog posts

Alex Short is Founder of Old St Labs he is passionate about building the next generation of business software. He is recognised as one of procurements thought leaders.
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