How to Improve Supplier Communications Through Online Chat

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Online chat has become ubiquitous among all types of businesses and industries looking to drive sales and improve customer relationships. In the same vein, instant communications can become a key tool in the procurement arsenal to improve supply chain relationship management.

A perpetual mission among procurement leaders is finding better ways to improve quality and safety, increase innovation, and cut costs. Surprisingly, very few CPOs look to using communication strategy within the supply chain to achieve these objectives.

The Power of Communication

It may be rote to say that effective communication is vital to the success of your procurement organization. But the fact is, communication is often overlooked as it relates to achieving better supply chain management. When it comes to the exchange of information, many leaders only pay attention to communications within the organization. This narrow focus leads to siloed communication and less than effective supply chain management.

Today, procurement leaders have a unique opportunity to harness the power of modern communication technologies to build stronger supplier relationships. Online chat is a game- changing technology that has forever altered the way businesses sell to and support customers. This technology has important implications in the procurement industry as well, allowing buyers the opportunity to speak regularly and honestly with suppliers to create more transparency, visibility, and improved relationships, and gain more control over the supply chain.

Online Communication—A Strategic Method for Managing the Supply Chain

There have been countless articles written on the power of the supply chain relationship to drive business growth. To achieve supply chain excellence, CPOs need to pay particular attention to the methods of how they communicate with suppliers to foster relationships. Online chat provides an opportunity to build open and responsive communication protocols and help suppliers to be more responsive.

Great examples of companies who have used communication technologies to their competitive advantage include FedEx and Amazon. FedEx developed a communication strategy that allows for agile and responsive adjustments to business processes when necessary. Amazon built a system where communication in real-time is standard practice, allowing for orders to be filled and shipped from a variety of locations to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

While not all companies have the resources of FedEx and Amazon, we can learn from their out-of-the-box thinking to achieve new heights in competitiveness and profitability.

Ways Real-Time Chat Can Improve Supplier Performance

If your supply chain is made up of multiple organizations in geographically dispersed locations, online communication can allow you to stay in touch so that you can manage it more efficiently. Online chat increases collaboration among partners, allows for visibility within group conversations, provides real-time updates on logistical information, and provides the ability to share critical project data and knowledge, improve relationships, monitor progress across the entire supply chain and more.

Here are more ways online chat can improve supply chain relationships:

  1. Improves Accountability: You can communicate mission-critical events instantly, making sure specific members of the supply chain team understand their responsibilities and nothing gets lost in translation.
  2. Streamlines Procurement Functions: A centralized communication channel for supply chain communications streamlines your procurement function. When you’re all on the same page, your operation and execution will be seamless.
  3. Destroys Information Silos: Online chat empowers more people to solve problems and make decisions. Information silos are eliminated, allowing easy access to suppliers in order to make decisions in critical situations.
  4. Improves Responsiveness and Agility: Real-time communications between buyers and their supply chains allow organizations to react instantly and make quick decisions when necessary.
  5. Increases Cooperation: Immediate connection between buyers and suppliers increases cooperation and efficiency to coordinate purchases and delivery.
  6. Gives Insights Into Mission-Critical Details: Online chat communications allow business leaders to gain keen insights into the details of suppliers, factories, storage, warehousing, distribution and customers.

Closing the Communication Loop—JAGGAER’s Advanced Sourcing Optimizer Chat Solution

While there are a variety of off-the-shelf chat tools on the market, few are built with procurement needs in mind. A dedicated supplier relationship management communication tool is a worthy investment, and JAGGAER’s Advanced Sourcing Optimizer (ASO) Online Chat Tool delivers specialized chat specifically for running live auction events with multiple suppliers. ASO Online Chat provides:

  1. The ability for buyers to reach out to suppliers in real time, within the JAGGAER platform, making communication just-in-time and just-enough.
  2. Group Blast Messaging capability allows for broadcast messages to all suppliers on a single event, saving users time. Suppliers can then respond back to the message privately.
  3. Downloadable Chat Logs available to both buyers and suppliers provides a critical audit trail, allowing stakeholders to review and download past conversations for better record keeping.

Summing It Up

There is no doubt that online communication technology is changing the face of the buyer-supply chain relationship. It opens the door to more visibility, improved relationships, increased control, and reduced operational and supply costs.


To find out more about JAGGAER’s Advanced Sourcing Optimizer solution, download our informational data sheet.

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