Barriers to best practice in supplier approval management

Agents and traders

Agents and traders have a role to play in many supply chains.

And, while most are reliable, honest people with the correct management systems in place, we do encounter the occasional cowboy.

Some agents and traders, for example, may be spot buying ingredients or have many sub-suppliers which they have not audited.

They do not realise that they have a responsibility to approve their suppliers and provide appropriate technical support to their customers. Such agents and traders are an obstacle to assured supply chains and need to clean up their act or leave the food supply chain.

Supplier refusal

Some suppliers try to avoid providing information and give excuses such as;

  1. We’re too busy

  2. You do not buy enough from us to justify the time

  3. We’re too big

  4. We lack the resources

It is difficult to navigate these issues while avoiding confrontation with un-cooperative suppliers.

Lack of resource at suppliers

Suppliers should have sufficient resources to meet customer requirements. This means purchasing departments considering potential suppliers’ technical resources right at the start of commercial discussions. It is often too late to address this shortcoming once a suppliers’ ingredients have been incorporated into the products.

Have something to hide

Suppliers who know they are not compliant don’t want you to find out. To try and prevent you from rumbling them, they will either come up with one of the excuses already mentioned or sidestep a direct refusal by giving you a different excuse each time you chase.

Be persistent and implement a planned de-list program. A credible threat of being de-listed motivates many suppliers to provide information. Follow through with de-lists where suppliers are not prepared to give you what you’ve asked for.