Supplier Relationship Management


Onboarding, continued engagement, & compliance for retail success.


At a Glance:

1. The Key to Supplier Onboarding Success:

If enhancing your supplier relationships is your goal, you’ve landed in the right spot! Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is just one aspect of proficiently overseeing a complex retail supply chain. We often hear from retailers and brands about the challenges of managing their supplier base, especially when it comes to onboarding new suppliers, continued supplier engagement, and keeping suppliers compliant with ever-changing regulatory requirements.

New research validates the pressing necessity to enhance transparency and effectiveness in the existing supplier network, which is identified as the primary obstacle in sourcing and supply chain management.

SRM is designed to streamline and optimize the interactions between retailers, brands, and their suppliers, fostering collaboration, transparency, and efficiency throughout the retail supply chain.

Whether working with under 100 or over 10,000 suppliers across the globe, the hurdles can include data integrity, communication, collaboration, and more. Retailers and brands need a solution that houses crucial supplier information in one place for enhanced collaboration, increased efficiency, streamlined purchasing, and reduced risks. It’s a great foundation for solid supplier relationships.

So let’s get into it. What are the common challenges with SRM today?

Data Integrity:

Maintaining accurate supplier data – from company names to contact info – presents significant hurdles, but can be a competitive advantage when achieved. 

Collaboration and Onboarding:

Efficient collaboration and streamlined processes with suppliers are essential for success, facilitating quicker onboarding and accelerating time to market.

Managing Multiple Suppliers:

Managing numerous vendors, including overseas suppliers, results in difficulties in tracking information and managing relationships.

What if we told you there’s a way to seamlessly connect and manage your suppliers globally?

The right retail technology can help overcome these challenges and promote greater collaboration, transparency, and efficiency in supplier relationship management.

This platform delivers value by facilitating supplier onboarding onto a PLM or Sourcing solution, driving system adoption, maintaining ongoing engagement as organizations evolve, and ensuring compliance with constantly changing regulatory requirements.

Let’s take a deeper dive into onboarding, engagement, and compliance.

1. The Key to Supplier Onboarding Success

Supplier onboarding is a vital process for making sure that your supplier base remains aligned with your evolving business goals and market dynamics. And, it’s far from a one-time task; rather, it demands continual attention as your organization and supplier network grow.

Common challenges include the need for hands-on support to guide suppliers through the process and the constant pursuit of relevant information. Moreover, maintaining accurate supplier contact information poses a significant challenge due to personnel changes within supplier organizations, leading to potential data inaccuracies.

It’s crucial to bring in new suppliers easily and quickly to stay ahead of the competition. An SRM offers a solution by streamlining the onboarding process, guaranteeing seamless integration, and providing compliance with essential standards and protocols. This not only saves valuable time and resources but also establishes a robust foundation for successful supplier relationships.

Walmart’s SRM strategy exemplifies the effectiveness of this approach. Walmart engaged with thousands of suppliers across numerous product categories, aligning goals and sharing accountability for their own-brand products through the supplier management platform.

Moreover, visibility into key supplier metrics is crucial for effective collaboration and decision-making. Surprisingly, only 38% of retailers and brands report having “fair” insight into key supplier metrics, highlighting the urgent need for enhanced supplier transparency.

An SRM solution addresses this concern by providing real-time visibility into supplier performance. This visibility not only enhances operational efficiency but also fosters stronger collaboration and transparency throughout the supplier network, ultimately driving improved business outcomes.



2. Continued Engagement for Long-Term Success

Maintaining ongoing engagement with suppliers is integral to sustained success in the retail sector. An effective SRM platform serves as the cornerstone for nurturing these relationships, enabling seamless communication and collaboration between retailers and suppliers.

By leveraging automated notifications and centralized communication channels, retailers and brands can proactively address supplier engagement challenges and foster mutual growth opportunities. It is through consistent collaboration, engagement, and alignment of objectives that suppliers can truly be integrated as valued partners in achieving your business goals.

Suppliers are like an extension of the internal team and play a crucial role. They need to understand your expectations and strategic direction. For successful collaboration, regular communication and training are vital. Communication should go both ways so suppliers can share changes that affect the brand’s operations. This transparency and agility benefits both parties and leads to mutually beneficial outcomes.

Woolworths’ experience exemplifies the transformative power of robust supplier engagement facilitated by an SRM platform. When faced with the complex task of identifying product origins, Woolworths effectively gathered crucial data from a vast network of suppliers. Within a mere 8 weeks, they successfully collected 70% of the required product information from 500+ suppliers, showcasing the efficacy of continued engagement and streamlined communication processes. This accomplishment underscores the significance of nurturing supplier relationships as a cornerstone of operational efficiency and strategic agility in the dynamic retail landscape.

According to our research, 40% of brands and retailers expressed moderate satisfaction with their production timelines when partnering with suppliers. A common practice among these companies is to use Excel and WhatsApp for regular communication with suppliers. This reliance on traditional tools indicates a potential area for improvement in streamlining processes and enhancing communication.

By leveraging technology and maintaining consistent collaboration, the efficiency of bringing products to market can be significantly improved. Implementing integrated supply chain management software can centralize all supplier performance data, reducing the inefficiencies associated with scattered information and manual data entry. With all relevant data in one location, companies can make more informed and timely decisions, optimizing their supply chain operations.

3. Navigating Regulatory Compliance to Reduce Risk

After successfully bringing suppliers on board and fostering their active participation, you can interact seamlessly to adapt to evolving regulatory demands. It’s all about being on the same page.

Retailers and brands face the challenge of navigating a complex regulatory landscape. Compliance with ever-changing regulatory requirements is crucial to mitigate risks and protect adherence to legal, industry standards, and consumer demands. To address this concern, implementing an SRM platform becomes essential, as it provides the necessary tools and resources to understand and comply with regulatory obligations.

With ‌the proper technology in place, retailers and brands can stay informed about the latest regulatory changes and implement best practices to reduce the risks associated with non-compliance. These capabilities can enable businesses to effectively adhere to legal and industry standards, safeguarding their brand reputation, and avoiding potential fines and penalties.

Furthermore, the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors cannot be underestimated. Many retailers and brands rate ESG factors as “extremely important” in their supplier management processes, according to our recent research. Incorporating ESG considerations into supplier management processes can help maintain sustainability and ethical practices throughout the supply chain. This not only helps meet regulatory requirements but also aligns with increasing consumer demands for responsible and transparent business practices.

In recent news, Walmart announced its suppliers acted to cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions. They achieved this goal six years earlier than planned. The plan started in 2017 to avoid, reduce, or store 1 billion tons of emissions by 2030. Suppliers focused on using energy efficiently, changing packaging, reducing food waste, and making trucking more efficient to meet ESG goals. 

Walgreens Boots Alliance also demonstrates a real-world example of the effectiveness of an SRM platform in navigating regulatory compliance. When faced with changing EU legislation that required the identification of newly restricted and previously unreported chemical substances, the company successfully reviewed 500+ suppliers and collected data for numerous substances and products. This showcases the efficiency of an SRM platform in managing regulatory compliance and reducing risk.

An SRM platform is a valuable tool for retailers and brands to keep compliant, reduce risk, and protect their brand reputation. Incorporating ESG considerations into supplier management processes further enhances sustainability and ethical practices throughout the supply chain.


Now is an opportune moment to reflect on your current supplier relationships. Do you believe there’s room for improvement? Effective SRM stands as a cornerstone of retail triumph, tackling challenges from initial onboarding to regulatory compliance. A robust SRM platform provides a centralized solution, streamlining operations, boosting transparency, and mitigating risks.

Success stories from retail giants like Walmart, Woolworths, and Walgreens Boots Alliance underscore the tangible benefits of streamlined supplier onboarding, heightened engagement, and compliance management, paving the way for supply chain excellence.

To flourish in today’s retail-era, brands and retailers should consider SRM technology, nurturing deeper supplier connections to empower an efficient, resilient, and responsible supply chain.

About Bamboo Rose SRM

The Bamboo Rose Supplier Relationship Management solution is designed to streamline and optimize the interactions between retailers, brands, and suppliers, fostering collaboration, transparency, and efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Maintaining accurate supplier data is crucial to preventing operational disruptions and staying competitive… and, unfortunately, that data can change all the time.

The Bamboo Rose Supplier Relationship Management solution helps you stay current with comprehensive, simple, and effective data management processes and technology.

From onboarding new suppliers to managing vendor compliance, empower your team with actionable insights and tools to enhance communication, mitigate risks, and drive continuous improvement in supplier relationships.

Global Retailers Trust Bamboo Rose to Drive Business Value