Daily Archives: November 25, 2012

A Managed Relationship is a Measured Relationship

I have to agree with the author of this recent piece in Inside Supply Management on Building Relationships who said that

if your organization isn’t seeking internal customer feedback – and using it as a learning tool – you may not be as strategic as you think.

As Thomas Nash, of First Line Consultants, says, “Supply management doesn’t own internal stakeholders’ budgets, we don’t own their spend and we don’t run their business unit/function.” The reality is that “Supply management provides stakeholders with fact-based proposals on how to better manage their spend based on reality, our expertise and best practice.”

This means that unless Supply Management is providing stakeholders with the proposals they need, in the manner they need, and the support to execute those proposals, it will not be doing a good job of managing indirect spend in the organization.

So how do you measure internal stakeholder satisfaction? The article gives some good tips to get you started:

  • Involve Staff
    Involve your staff in the process of creating the survey, choosing a process to deliver it, and a set of metrics to measure it.
  • Consider Timing
    The evaluation process should be done annually, but not during budget planning or vacation season. You need as many responses as possible, and they need to be good, thoughtful, responses.
  • Watch Your Language
    Use language the stakeholders can understand, not technical Supply Management terminology. In particular, when surveying legal, use their language; when surveying finance, use their language; and when surveying marketing, don’t be afraid to use a few buzzwords.
  • Be Patient
    The relationship-building and subsequent evaluation/measurement process won’t happen overnight. It will be a multi-year process, but with effort, the organization will get there and the results will improve year-over-year.
  • Share Results
    Share what you learned and the changes you intend to make as a result of the assessment. Do so quickly, and make sure the identified changes get implemented in a timely manner so the stakeholders can see that Supply Management is endeavoring to improve their service levels to the rest of the organization. This is how you become the trusted go-to department in the organization and get indirect spend appropriately managed.