Whether you are starting a new business or looking for ways to expand your current one, the suppliers you choose are critical as they are an extension of your organization. The suppliers are partners that enable you to deliver on the promises you make to your customers.
In the search to find the right supplier, capturing the voice of internal customer is an essential first step. Many businesses fail to understand its importance and jump straight into preparing a Request For Quotation (RFQ). Before evaluating potential suppliers, it is vital to establish the requirements and parameters of the sourcing project.
Here’s what you need to know about capturing the voice of customer and how to navigate it the right way.
Why is the Voice of Customer so Important?
There are many great suppliers around the world. However, that doesn’t mean that they are right for your specific business. Before you invest the time and money on a market exercise, do you really understand your true requirements?
The voice of customer is vital to engage all stakeholders and establish the requirements of your strategic sourcing exercise. This enables a thorough evaluation against the requirements and leads to higher probability of success in selecting the right supplier. Design modifications and changes to the requirements often take a long time to resolve, reducing the efficiency and efficacy of the sourcing exercise.
What to Capture in Voice of Customer?
The goal of the voice of customer is to understand and differentiate between needs and wants. It also requires examining the current state of your manufacturing and sourcing.
The current state analysis should provide a benchmark for future state. The voice of customer helps in finding creative solutions to your current challenges and building on the good aspects.
You should seek to have internal conversations revolving around the exact requirements and scope of the project:
- Demand forecast
- Quality Control and packaging
- Payment terms and incoterms
- Qualification process for supplier and product
- Supplier selection and implementation timeline
- Budget for samples, site visits, in-house or third-party tests, etc.
The voice of customer is also a critical time to talk about your openness and flexibility for deviations, alternatives, and exclusions. There are times when emergencies and other priorities may require creative solutions. The discussion over your openness to these solutions can help guide suppliers in current challenges as well as potential ones in the future.
Use the Voice of Customer to Help Find the Right Supplier
Although often overlooked, a comprehensive voice of customer creates the foundation for the RFQ. It helps you avoid the common mistake of focusing solely on cost and quality to the detriment of other crucial factors. By understanding and discussing these essential aspects, you can target the right mix of suppliers to engage in the RFQ.
Need help finding the right supplier to meet your needs? Not sure exactly what you want? Our experts here at SourcX can help. Contact us today to see how we can assist you to find the right supplier for your needs.