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Supply Side Series - What do customers expect from their suppliers?

image of Elliot Daly Elliot Daly
Elliot Daly 22 May 2022 Time to read: 

What do we want? (We’re not sure) When do we want it? (Yesterday!)

If you have ever worked in IT you know there are IT people and there are “users”. For suppliers, customers are their “users” – a good customer offers clarity, takes the time to develop a relationship and most importantly (although not essentially), offers long term value.

Is price the main differentiator?

When bidding for business, you can expect to be in a competitive  commercial process  8 times out of 10, and there is an assumption that any selection process will be based on who can offer the best price. Whilst technically correct, the best price isn’t the cheapest price!. Other factors are equally if not more important for many customers:  the quality of product or service, the synergy with other clients and most recently, sustainability. Can you demonstrate that you are working to reduce your carbon footprint, or how do you contribute to your local communities for example? These questions are now becoming a de facto standard as part of sourcing.

Flexibility & engagement

Wouldn’t it be great if all customers gave their requirements, a supplier provided a price, everyone signed on the dotted line and the deal is done! Expectation versus reality is usually very different. Obviously there are many transactional relationships between customer and supplier which can be successful in terms of turnover and productivity. But the more complex requirements – complex projects, transformation pieces – is where the supplier/customer relationship truly develops and a deeper understanding is required. It’s in these scenarios that customers expect flexibility and proactive engagement. There is the old adage that the customer is always right, which of course is true (!), and most suppliers will agree through gritted teeth, as generally the saying is synonymous with an unexpected increase in delivery costs, eating into margins. But whilst the customer may not be always right, they do expect a certain level of flexibility and collaborative engagement to discuss their requirements and look at those late changes to scope or requirements. Your ability to respond with understanding, openness and with clarity in communication is fundamental and leads to deeper and more trusting relationships and ultimately higher customer lifetime value.

Peru or you?

Peru offers services to both sides of the commercial divide. Our consultants have been both supplier and customer, so we are in a unique position to understand what suppliers need to win and retain business, but to also determine what customers require from their supply chain. We differentiate ourselves through our Triple “A” consulting principles; Accelerate, Assure & Augment – we’re part of your team. Our culture, values, and behaviours ensure people come first – and always before the process and we work hard to ensure the customer experience is the best – whether you, the supplier, are our customer or advising you on your own customer engagement. Sometimes having an objective unbiased view is the ideal way to cement a relationship.

To find out more please contact us directly,