The 8 Modules, 31 Focus Points and 5 Collaboration Phases of the SEIC Methodology provide a path to success

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Our Diagnostic Tool provides a gap analysis of SEI capability to support the strategic planning process

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In-depth explorations of the approaches and techniques used by leading organizations in the field of SEI today

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Thought leadership and insightful articles on the most important issues for companies pursuing an SEI agenda

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Insight calls are available to join for all members of the SEIC and will be addressing a number of topics

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Useful downloads, from unique research to practical templates, frameworks and tools being used by SEI leaders

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The 11 modules of the SEI methodology focus on the key processes that enable the successful rollout of SEI

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Our Capabilities Assessment tools provide the means for organizations to gain insight into their own SEI approach

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In-depth explorations of the approaches and techniques used by leading organizations in the field of SEI today

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Thought leadership and insightful articles on the most important issues for companies pursuing an SEI agenda

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Useful downloads, from unique research to practical templates, frameworks and tools being used by SEI leaders

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Leveraging supplier awards to improve SEI

A string of awards held over the past few weeks have highlighted how buying organizations increasingly recognize the innovation contribution of suppliers

Innovation awards

A record number of suppliers were recognized at General Motor’s 25th Supplier of the Year Awards last month, with seven companies walking away with an innovation award.

 

GM’s event is just one example of many other recent supplier-innovation awards, which are used strategically by large organizations to recognize and incentivize key suppliers. On top of SEIC members Bayer and Brose – who hosted awards in February and April, respectively – John Deere awarded PPG its Supplier Innovation Award while, more recently, construction suppliers Siltbuster and Carbon8 Systems were recognized in the innovation category of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

 

But how do these awards fit into the wider supplier-innovation picture? What do they represent, and what are they trying to achieve?

 

For me, there are two key takeaways.

 

The first is the value of these awards to the supply base. I was initially dubious about the importance that suppliers attach to awards ceremonies when I began working at the SEIC; I wondered whether a Supplier-Enabled Innovation partner would derive any real value from them, or if they were simply fanfare and lacked substance.

 

It’s a view that could easily be adopted by someone looking from the outside-in at supplier awards. But having spoken to several industry players engaged in supplier innovation, it’s clear that supplier awards offer multiple gains for both sides of an SEI collaboration.

 

From a supplier’s perspective, awards are an excellent source of PR, creating a free marketing platform to showcase their capabilities. This can provide a boost to their market credibility and visibility, enhancing their appeal as an employer and potentially leading to new business. And PR is an equally strong advantage to the buying organizations that host these events. They underline a commitment to SEI, which can serve to enhance suppliers’ willingness to invest in SEI programs.

 

The second takeaway is the extent to which innovation in the supply base is being unearthed and taken advantage of.

 

Conversations I’ve had suggest that, in certain sections of procurement, there’s still a tendency to view SEI as either a niche, auxiliary program that’s not fully in-sync with current strategic business goals, or as a future objective that they’re not yet mature enough to pursue.

 

But these awards are clear evidence that innovation in the supply base not only exists, but is increasingly being harnessed by a diverse range of buying organizations. Those companies that make moves to work with their suppliers on innovation today, and publicly reward those they collaborate with, will be better placed to leverage SEI and steal a march on their competitors.

 

Supplier awards, then, are not a gimmick that companies can afford to shrug their shoulders at. If done properly and utilized correctly, they can unlock myriad benefits for both buyers and suppliers that are engaged in SEI together, and should be considered an important tool in the roadmap of an SEI strategy.

 

Samuel Wrest

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