5 benefits of using a single strategic supply partner

Brands and retailers have been profoundly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many know they are unlikely to rebound and recover lost market share without forging closer ties with the suppliers that transform their creative inputs into high impact marketing activation materials.

Studies show that companies with advanced supplier-collaboration capabilities tend to outperform their peers. In one McKinsey survey of over 100 large organisations in multiple sectors, companies that regularly collaborated with suppliers demonstrated higher growth, lower operating costs, and greater profitability than their industry peers.

‘These organisations understand that when buyers and suppliers are willing and able to cooperate, they can often find ways to unlock significant new sources of value that benefit them both,’ noted the study.

However, managing multiple suppliers in this way can prove easier said than done. This is why doubling-down with a single strategic supply partner is not only more realistic, but can yield unique benefits – or ‘sources of value’ – over and above a multi-supplier approach. Here are five of them:

  1. Better communication and trust

The first benefit is one that can be difficult to quantify and tends to come with time, but will be felt by both sides and generate significant value even if you can’t always measure it.

Working with a single organisation provides the opportunity to level-up a relationship into a partnership. Companies involved in close collaborations tend to appreciate each other’s capabilities, understand each other’s businesses, and believe that their partners will stick to the commitments they make.

Ultimately, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating; creative outputs will stand a greater chance of being delivered on time, with the desired quality, when both parties are in constant communication, sharing expectations and concepts.

  1. Digital harmony

It’s now well regarded that marketing procurement technology is vital in the effort to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs and respond faster to market demand. But achieving those desirables is dependent on being in digital harmony with your suppliers.

Aligning technology with multiple suppliers is something of a pipedream, whereas it can be feasible with a single strategic partner – especially if they are providing the digital solution.

  1. Meet sustainability goals

The pandemic has seen sustainability snap back into focus, with consumers responding by changing their buying behaviours in order to minimise their impact on the world. Supply chains have also been placed in the spotlight, as consumers scrutinise the treatment of workers and how products are sourced.

As brands attempt to recover from the events of the past year or so, they, too, will need to scrutinise their supply chain to see where improvements, in respect of sustainability, can be made and then implement them.

This task is made immeasurably harder with multiple suppliers than it is a single strategic partner. Working with a single partner also brings the opportunity to join up activities, which can help you cut down on cost, frequency and emissions from production and haulage.

  1. End-to-end expertise

The challenge has always been to outdo your competitors with your marketing activities – but that will be even more important in the post-pandemic months and years if you want to set on a path to growth.

Partnering with a single strategic organisation which has expertise in the creative elements of a successful campaign, as well as the production and deployment of the marketing materials, means you can bring better concepts to market faster.

There doesn’t have to be a lag in turning creative into production; it’s a seamless process helping you to achieve maximum results.

  1. Cost efficiencies

We’ve touched on how using a single partner plays into greater cost efficiencies a couple of times, but it deserves a whole point in itself. After all, the business case of anything depends on what it means for the bottom line.

If you operate across multiple locations, you can buy a lot more competitively through a single partner as you’ll be able to get discounts for buying in larger quantities – i.e., economies of scale. Knowing exactly what everything costs from your partner means that you can control these costs across your entire organisation and develop new data driven strategies to drive further efficiency.

As anybody who does a weekly food shop knows, buying locally across a number of independents is fine if you have the time, but it’s often more costly and ultimately less efficient. 

Adare – helping you connect more deeply with your customers

It would be remiss to suggest that opting for a single strategic partner isn’t without its risks. But as long as you do your research and opt for one with a proven track record, it’s less risky than relying on multiple suppliers.

Across the life-cycle of below-the-line activation, from concept development to marketing deployment, Adare offers the inspiration and the technological innovation to help you connect more deeply with your customers.

Every year, we source over 500 million items from over 100 countries on behalf of our client partners, through our network of over 2,500 suppliers. Why not benefit from our sourcing expertise? 

* Taking supplier collaboration to the next level, McKinsey & Co, 7th July 2020

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