In an increasingly dynamic marketplace, businesses are expected to change faster and often these innovations come from suppliers. But few have mastered the art of developing suppliers to drive forward business competitiveness.

Supplier development is about generating a new capability or competency in suppliers. It is often linked to, although distinct from, performance improvement. By developing suppliers, organisations can generate competitive advantage. This can manifest itself in a new product for sale, a new streamlined process or the implementation of a new standard.

Suppliers are an enormous – and often untapped – pool for innovation, continuous improvement and cost reduction. By enabling this potential, companies can enjoy an enormous impact on the bottom-line.

However, suppliers are often reluctant to commit resources to an individual buyer. They fear that their IP will be abused and their cost models exposed, leaving the supplier denuded in future negotiations. In short, suppliers do not trust buyers, and this lack of trust can undermine the success of supplier development programs.

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