Virtual Supplier day guide for 2021: your secret procurement weapon

Supplier day, much like supply chain collaboration, is a powerful catalyst for business success. If you do it right - and not many do. In this article we take a look at what a supplier day should really mean, how it can help achieve the magical unicorn of supply chain collaboration, and how to best set up your own supplier day in 2021. 

Have you ever held a supplier day? And if you have, are you sure it really worked out best for you and your suppliers? Not many companies have understood the concept of supplier day, nor do they acknowledge the risks of doing a poor job at organising it.

What is a supplier day? And what it is not? 

The main purpose of a supplier day is to bring together your direct suppliers for relationship building and collaboration. Your end goal is to find ways for and boost supply chain collaboration and innovation in a mutually beneficial way. 

During a supplier day, you can share important messages, hand over supplier awards, run negotiations or workshops and get to know each other’s capabilities and needs better. 

What is not a supplier day? It’s not your personal sales pitch or a one-sided speaking event. It’s an opportunity for dialogue, brainstorming, and creating meaningful collaborations. 

You can hold a supplier day both face to face or online. 

  • A traditional physical event would usually take suppliers to your plant or distribution centre to give them a close-up insight into your operation. 
  • An online supplier day is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative. You can offer an equal experience with the help of digital tools. And no, it shouldn’t have to be yet another awkward Zoom call. 

Today, for obvious reasons, an online supplier day is the most viable option. It’s safer, faster, cheaper, requires no travel, and helps you reach a wider audience. 

Who should hold a supplier day? 

If you haven’t held a supplier day yet or haven’t even heard of it, don’t feel bad. It’s an underutilized tool in the procurement world. So this is your opportunity to turn it into your secret weapon. 

In terms of who should and who shouldn’t hold a supplier day, the short answer is that everyone should do it - no matter the size or the field of the company. And while you’re at it, you can apply the concept to holding a client’s day, partner’s day, etc. More collaboration and mutual understanding can only make your business better. 

What supply chain collaboration really is?

Supply chain collaboration is an often overused buzzword that has lost much of its meaning. What it really means is aligning growth and innovation strategies with partners and suppliers to meet common goals. These goals usually focus on: 

  • cost reduction, 
  • customer service improvement, or 
  • raising supply chain performance.

Most companies understand the need to collaborate, but getting real results is hard. They might be used to transactional or even adversarial relationships. True collaboration requires a shift in culture and mindset for both the suppliers and buyers. Both parties have to overcome their mistrust to align goals and objectives with another company.

You can only get so far by focusing on the price of the products and services you buy. When buyers and suppliers cooperate, they can find ways to unlock new value sources to benefit them both. 

But the results are definitely worth it. 

In one McKinsey survey of more than 100 large organisations in multiple sectors, companies with advanced supplier-collaboration
outperformed their peers by 2x in growth, lower operating costs, and profitability. 

Supplier collaboration can no longer be a nice-to-have. It’s the only way to overcome the limits of conventional purchasing practices and boost company progress. 

One great way to kickstart the collaboration is to host a supplier day. 

Supplier day best practices 

As previously said, supplier day should be mutually beneficial to both the buyer and the suppliers. Here are some key points to help you organize a productive supplier day. 

  • Dialogue - keep in mind that the event should be about dialogue and communication, not your company’s self-promotion. Focus on listening to the suppliers and receiving their ideas. 
  • Scheduling and agenda - use the time wisely. Try to hold one-on-one discussions, workshops and presentations in a cyclical schedule. This way you take the most out of the day, respect your suppliers’ time and don’t keep anyone waiting. 
  • Guest list - be mindful about the size and composition of the guest list. Try to set up the guest list in a way to foster the maximum potential for collaboration. 
  • Follow up - make sure that you follow up the positive experience with real value, feedback and subsequent action. 

All in all, suppliers invest their time and effort into a supplier day. Make sure you respect that or it can backfire hard. If they perceive it as a waste of their time, holding such event can be worse than not holding it at all. 

Why should you hold an online supplier day?

An online supplier day shouldn’t be yet another Zoom call where everyone is on mute and an occasional awkward pantless spouse wanders into the picture. Choosing the right online format allows you to offer real-life without the jet lag or travel expenses. 

The main benefits of an online supplier day: 

  • Cost - online supplier day is 10x less expensive compared to a traditional physical event. A typical mid-sized event can cost around €100K. Holding an online event with a moderator, video production and multi-channel streaming costs a fraction of that. 
  • Time - organizing an online event takes 5x less time. You can set up an event in 3-4 weeks, compared to a physical event which takes 5-6 month to organize. It also saves the participants’ time, increasing the likelihood of a high turnout. 
  • Safety - we can’t get around the current virus threat. Opting for an online event will also avoid any surprises regarding travel or event restrictions. 
  • Environment - even without restrictions, traveling back and forth for a one-day event isn’t reasonable or efficient. 

Supplier Day as a Service

When organising a supplier day, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Using a supplier day organizing service will help you get a well-organized event on the way in a matter of hours. 

With PorcurementFlow Supplierday you only need to: 

  • Tell us about your vision and objective.
  • Let us know which suppliers to invite 
  • Which of your team members will be joining
  • An agenda for the main stage

This takes no more than 4-5 hours of your time and we’ll do the rest. 

  • The event concept and a live environment for the day. We’ll also moderate the day. If needed, we can even set up a physical stage at your desired location. 
  • Suppliers’ EXPO area and individual booths. In a booth, a supplier can present themselves and what they do to everyone in your company. 
  • One-on-one video calls at the booth for arranging meetups with your procurement and category teams. 
  • Separate negotiation rooms for designated topics of R&D, cost savings, etc. 

The event can be set in 3-4 weeks with a minimal effort - and all the benefits - on your side. 

Sounds good? 

Check out our event packages here:

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