Supply Chain Management

What Is Supplier Development And How To Manage It

Supplier Development

The selecting suppliers process that can supply the products and services a company needs is called supplier development.

Supplier development activities can include supplier interviews, supplier surveys and supplier audits, and supplier selection criteria development.

Supplier development is an essential part of any company’s supply chain management strategy. It is vital for ensuring that only the best suppliers are chosen to provide quality products and services.

Supplier Development Goals

Typically, supplier development goals aim to improve quality, reduce cost, shorten lead time, and deliver better performance.

A company must approach supplier development strategically and systematically to achieve the best results. Building stronger supplier relationships, it’s all about going beyond the current contractual requirements.

It is important to build a better relationship with suppliers. You can do this by working together to identify the areas that need improvement and then creating a plan to fix those areas.

Companies should also strive to foster a culture that encourages continuous improvement among their suppliers. This involves encouraging suppliers to find ways to improve their operations, and then working with them in order to make these improvements.

Trust should be a top priority for companies when dealing with suppliers. You can do this by being open and honest with your suppliers and by freely sharing information and ideas.

These tips will help companies build strong relationships with suppliers and foster a culture that encourages continuous improvement in the supply chain.

Also read: What Is Supplier Performance Management: A Complete Guide?

Supplier Development Process

The supplier development process is an integral part of any organization’s supply chain and procurement management. It can improve the performance and quality of an organization’s suppliers as well as identify and evaluate potential new suppliers.

1. Assess the Supplier Capabilities

It is crucial to evaluate the capabilities of suppliers when sourcing goods and services. This will help you gain a competitive edge. You can assess the supplier’s capabilities by looking at their performance in delivery, quality, or price.

The supplier’s record of meeting deadlines and delivering the goods on time is an indicator of delivery. The supplier’s track record in producing high-quality goods or services that exceed customer expectations is used to evaluate quality.

The price is determined by the supplier’s track record of offering competitive prices without sacrificing delivery or quality. Organizations can evaluate the capabilities of a supplier in these areas to make informed decisions about whether or not to do business with them. This information can be used to help companies identify areas that could be improved.

2. Plan and execute improvement activities

Successful supplier development programs involve systematically looking at the supply base in order to plan and implement improvement activities.

Evaluate Your Supplier Base

Look at how many suppliers your procurement teams depend on each day. Are there any ways to reduce dead weight? Are you able to have sufficient supplier diversity to ensure your operation is protected from unscheduled downtime in case of an emergency?

Meet Suppliers

Talk to your top suppliers about areas they need to improve and how you can work together to ensure that improvement is monitored.

You Might Consider Implementing Cost Reduction Teams

These teams typically include people from different departments of the company, such as engineering and purchasing. These teams are meant to collaborate with suppliers to find ways to lower costs and improve quality.

Set Supplier Quality Requirements

These requirements can serve as a guideline to suppliers for the manufacture or provision of services. These requirements can help you identify potential problems early and prevent them from becoming larger issues later.

Use Supplier Performance Audits

They assess the supplier’s ability to meet certain delivery and quality requirements using agreed-upon metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

3. Follow Up and Measure Improvements

You can ensure customer satisfaction by scheduling a time to follow up with suppliers and measure improvements. Communication is a key component of supplier relationship management. It is important to ensure that everyone is on the same page, not only in the short term but also over the long term.

If you discover that the supplier is not performing as you expected, you can revisit the conversation to make changes. You may need to look for another supplier if things turn out differently than you expected.

Supplier Performance Improvement

As a purchasing organization, you should strive for continuous supplier improvement in order to remain competitive. This applies to all products, no matter if you are launching a new product or trying to increase sales for existing products.


Quality management is an essential part of any business strategy. It’s difficult to create a product that customers love if you are dealing with poor raw materials. You can’t make quality if your suppliers source low-quality materials.

You might find that the supplier will be willing to change their business processes in order to retain you as a client if you tell them that you are unhappy with the supplier’s product quality.


Cost is an important driver of social responsibility, and sustainability, which is essential to keep customers happy. Consumers today want to do business with brands that align with their values. Your brand’s focus on sustainability is not supported by the diversity of suppliers that can prove it is managed sustainably. This could cause you to upset your customers.

You may not be able to find new suppliers. Instead, you should partner with your existing business base to develop sustainable business practices.

While it is important to keep costs low for profit margins, sometimes it is worth paying more for quality and timely delivery.

You can work with your suppliers to reduce costs. This could be ordering more products, ordering bulk orders, or ordering a cheaper version of the product. To lower your costs and not sacrifice quality, you can negotiate early payment discounts.


If you are unable to get the products to your production staff when they need them, it doesn’t matter how high-quality your supplier is. If your production stops because of a longer lead time, you will have no choice but to search for alternative suppliers.

Suppliers need to offer a range of shippers so that delivery times can be improved. Also, shipping from multiple locations should be possible to ensure orders arrive at the closest warehouse.


Although technology is costly, it can significantly improve productivity and efficiency. This helps to improve service quality and lower costs over the long term.

Communicate with your suppliers about the technology that you use and what you expect from them. Automation and integrations can improve the process for everyone.

Also read: Supply Chain Planning: Definition, Process and Benefits

Benefits of Supplier Development

Supplier development programs can bring many benefits to your company if they are implemented correctly.

Increased quality and cycle time

It is common to work with suppliers to improve the quality of their products or services. This can reduce cycle times and make them more responsive to customers. This is an area that you should be focusing on because quality and cycle time are key risk factors for performance.

Reduced Cost

If you are looking for year-over-year cost savings, you may not see any benefits in the long term. It is not sustainable to reduce costs without improving operational efficiency. This could increase supply risk.

Supplier development is key to reducing waste in their businesses and resulting in savings. To avoid potential risks and reap the benefits of working with offshore suppliers, you might need to spend time and other resources in advance to make sure you have better long-term results.

Better Business Alignment

Collaboration improves business alignment. Suppliers can become more aware by sharing their goals and strategies.
What do you, the customer, need to be more responsive?

Understanding the perspective of your supplier will allow you to adapt your processes to make them more collaborative. This will show that you are as committed to their success as you are to your own.

This leads to greater trust and understanding between the parties. Suppliers may be able to introduce you to new products and services before others, giving you both a competitive advantage.

Communication is key

If you don’t own a large stake in the company, suppliers won’t be able to ask them to do great things. You don’t have leverage if you are one of the smallest suppliers and they don’t lose anything by sending you to another supplier.

Communication is important. Communication is important, regardless of whether you use email or a supplier portal. You can’t use a generic approach to make a real difference. Your account managers should speak directly with the suppliers managers and provide personalized communication.

Both parties should set clear expectations, with measurable milestones and deliverables. This makes it easier to follow.

Trust is key to influencing supplier behavior. Two-way communication is the best way to build this trust. Information sharing. Provide suppliers with access to your product pipeline. Keep your doors open and your communication transparent.

It takes time to build strong supplier relationships. These relationships take time and effort. Facilitating mutually beneficial relationships can be achieved through a supplier development program.

Written by
Delbert David

Delbert David is the editor in chief of The Tech Trend. He accepts all the challenges in the content reading and editing. Delbert is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging content marketing.

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