Round-table held on 23rd April 2020

About the Round-table

How many of your smaller suppliers will survive the economic consequences of the pandemic and its immediate aftermath?

How many of them do you need to buy from in future? What would it cost to re-source? How important are SME’s to you? Are local suppliers more important with no interstate travel?

What even are SME’s to your organisation?

Australia & New Zealand is an oligopolistic market of relatively few suppliers. Likely even fewer after Covid-19. Some have already had tender declines.

How should we be treating SME’s differently to large industrial scale suppliers? Well, it depends how much you want to keep them?

Public sector more than private sector buyers maybe? Certainly if they track jobs created-by-spend like City of SYDNEY do or track % of your spend with SMEs.

Very large organisations might even ask themselves – due we have a ‘duty of care’ towards our smaller suppliers? Does your category plan dictate supplier needs?

What can we do to help them survive at little cost to us? What flexibility can we show, with relatively little effort, was the crux of the discussion. Is skewing scoring fair though?

In addition, what are the warning signs of danger with small suppliers? How often should you be in touch? – More often was the consensus.

And, as part of any SRM programme, listening to your suppliers, building empathy and showing flexibility can often disproportionate help to them – and you too.

One other lesson of the crisis was how flexible SME suppliers can be – making PPE at short notice – is this a feature we have been ignoring in the past in procurement?

Your Facilitator

Ben Shute FCIPS is the managing director of Comprara, a leading Australian procurement solutions provider who deliver services, tools, training and technologies to organisations headquartered in Melbourne. He is also the owner and CEO of two SME’s that mostly support large corporate & govt clients.