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For SMEs in the facilities management (FM) sector, forging strong supplier relationships has always been important. Now, as disruption, shortages, and rising costs put supply chain resilience to the test, these relationships are critical. 

Below, we’ll discuss the procurement challenges all SMEs face in 2022, and explain why supply chain collaboration is key to overcoming them. 

Supply chain challenges

Procurement can be labour-intensive and involved; it’s why we developed our easy-to-use purchasing management tool. From finding suitable suppliers and reviewing quotations, to ensuring compliance, maintaining relationships, and managing lengthy paper trails, each stage of the process represents a new challenge for busy procurement managers.  

And that’s before we factor in today’s volatile buying environment. According to the Office of National Statistics, in May 2022, 21% of businesses not permanently stopped trading, and with 10 or more employees, experienced global supply chain disruption. 

Indeed, over the last several years, Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine have put supply chains under considerable pressure. As shipping delays and shortages cause further disruption, and material costs soar, procurement is more challenging than ever.  

With their resources and superior buying power, large businesses are seemingly better equipped to overcome these challenges. But, by forging strong, collaborative relationships with their suppliers, SMEs can continue to thrive, even as markets struggle. 

Supply chain collaboration for success

In the face of continued disruption, SMEs need greater supply chain visibility – including real-time data on compliance, orders, deliveries, and available stock. To secure this, and overcome today’s procurement challenges, they must work more closely and collaboratively with suppliers.   

For FM businesses, this kind of supply chain collaboration offers a range of benefits: think better communication, better deals, improved compliance, more stability, improved accountability, and the chance to share best practices. Businesses that forge alliances with suppliers will find themselves better equipped to manage supply chain risks – and, in turn, to gain a competitive advantage. 

Becoming too reliant on a single partner can backfire. To further mitigate risk, SMEs should try to maintain relationships with a network of carefully chosen suppliers. 

Procurement managers will need to invest time and energy in these relationships, meeting their supply partners regularly to discuss challenges, gaining an understanding of their objectives, and communicating openly. 

In a recent article, KPMG predicted that many businesses would soon be investing in technology to streamline the process. 

An automated supply chain solution

Using specially developed software, SPG helps SMEs to manage these relationships more efficiently. Our cloud native platform puts a verified directory of compliant organisations at their fingertips, enabling them to search for suppliers, guarantee compliance, and streamline the onboarding process. 

This platform was designed to streamline procurement from end-to-end, ensuring that businesses secure the stock they need, when they need it. A comparison area enables managers to compare variables ranging from price to lead times, while quotations are raised promptly and accurately. 

It also affords clear insights into the supply chain – including suppliers’ real-time availability scheduling and transparent pricing models. 

Ultimately, our software offers, not just improved supply chain visibility, but the chance to build better relationships with compliant supply partners.

Large organisations are already adopting new technologies in a bid to manage supply chain risk. With disruption only set to continue, SMEs should consider doing the same. Coupled with a collaborative approach to supplier relations, the right platform could help them to adapt, grow, and thrive. 

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