The key to strong, lasting contacts across a supply chain, whether with customers, suppliers or colleagues, is to ensure that the right people are talking to each other constantly, at all levels, says Joan Irving, procurement director at Premier Farnell, the global marketer and distributor of electronic and MRO specialist products and services.
Irving explains: “With a large customer you might want to have your purchasers, eCommerce teams, sales staff, accountants and the CEOs all in contact at any one time. This means, in effect, that a number of people are playing the role of Chief Relationship Officer. Everyone is working to forge long-term links and there isn’t an over-reliance on one person driving the relationship. It’s what we call a ‘diamond model’ at Premier Farnell.”
She says that a diamond model, once up and running, can deliver real value to a company’s customers and suppliers through closer, multiple collaborations between the companies. “By understanding better the business objectives of your partner organisations you can begin to deliver mutual benefits in a very focused way. We’ve done great work using this model, including the set-up of over 300 innovative eProcurement projects, and a major international project in progress at the moment, working with suppliers and customers to help them comply with the upcoming European Union RoHS and WEEE regulations. It’s all about greater trust, adding value and making all of our working lives easier.”