Transparency drives competition and transparent leaders stay in front of the pack.

There are all kinds of ways enterprise buyers collaborate with suppliers in the sourcing and procurement process.

One of these popular touch points is the familiar electronic performance survey sent by buyers to their suppliers on an annual, quarterly, or even monthly schedule.  The main contacts at each supplier fill out these surveys frequently across multiple buyers. 

The level of automation and man hours needed to adequately fulfill the deluge of survey requests is, perhaps, up for debate.

However, one constant prevails: Suppliers who can handle the incoming volume and participate consistently in performance surveys will have the sustained advantage of winning business over suppliers who do not participate consistently.

Enter into the mind of the supplier manager and commodity manager.

While they may have 25-50 peers in their company covering different geographies, spend categories, and/or tiers of suppliers, they all share one universal need: data. 

They require adequate metrics about their suppliers to make impactful decisions for the sourcing and procurement process.  Performance surveys are one of many tools that are paramount to managing sourcing strategy and minimizing risk for the buyers.

In the world we live in today; charm, hand shakes, and initial trust only get you so far as a supplier when reaching out for the bigger contracts.

You also need to look good on paper.

Here's why: Sourcing and procurement departments can experience turnover, just like many other departments in companies. 

New people are filled into the buyer's sourcing & procurement process and they don't yet know you as well.  Secondly, most suppliers are managed at the technology-level: Supplier and commodity managers log into a 'cockpit' dashboard and track their suppliers this way.  It's automated, easier, integrated with other procurement systems, and most importantly - auditable and reportable.  History is tracked, forming the trends buyers need to see about their individual suppliers. 

If there are too few stats or performance scores about you, how will you cement yourself in the minds of these supplier management technology power users? 

Collaboration is currency. 

Participate regularly and early in performance surveys when they come your way.  It keeps you transparent, your buyers happy, and builds an advantage over other suppliers who pass the buck on participating. 

Unless suppliers have something to hide, surveys are a good tool for showcasing good performance and meeting SLAs.