CPOstrategy visits HICX’s first Supplier Experience Live as organisations gear up to remove friction and become a customer of choice.

Supplier experience has never been such a hot topic.

After decades in the darkness, the importance of supplier experience is finally on the agenda.

Truthfully, success can’t be achieved alone. Without happy, committed and strategic supplier relationships, a business will stagnate. And now, organisations are waking up to the potential a robust supplier base could unlock.

The rise of Supplier Experience

Earlier this month, HICX launched its first-ever Supplier Experience Live the day before DPW Amsterdam. Hosted at the Tobacco Theatre in Amsterdam, it was recognised as an official DPW Amsterdam side event. The event’s vision was to help organisations use supplier experience to remove friction and become a customer-of-choice.

The half-day event began with a welcome from Ragnar Lorentzen, Chief Commercial Officer at HICX, who opened the door to the world of supplier experience and the market developments that have led the way. Lorentzen handed over to the first keynote speech from Dr. Elouise Epstein who explained that the ERP system was dead. Epstein suggested that the solution could be how well you exchange data with third parties.

Following Epstein was a panel discussion that featured Ruth Bromley, Director of Procurement Enablement at Heineken, Adam Hubbard, Senior Manager of Supply Chain, Governance and Performance at EDF which was moderated by Tommy Benston, VP of Global Client Management at HICX. The conversation advised of ways to gain a competitive advantage in procurement and supply chain through supplier experience management. Bromley highlighted three key learnings: speed, standardisation and simplicity, believing in a “single source of truth”.

Dr. Elouise Epstein
Dr. Elouise Epstein

Driving supplier adoption

Later, Anthony Payne, CMO at HICX, discussed how to drive supplier adoption and engagement through supplier marketing. Payne explained the value of segmentation which is the process of dividing the market into subsets of customers who share similar characteristics. Payne equipped the audience with six recommendations to take forward and advised them to use caution with the language they use with suppliers. Following the coffee break was Duncan Jones, former Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who unpacked the reality of how to decide on the correct types of solutions in the new best-of-breed era amidst a transition away from the traditional database-centric approach.

The afternoon continued with a panel discussion involving Marc Bengio, Senior Director and Head of Technology Enterprise Procurement at Johnson & Johnson, Lance Younger, CEO at ProcureTech and Jacy Bassett, VP of Professional Services, to explore the topic “Demystifying the technology landscape: How do you architect for Supplier Experience?” Each speaker gave their viewpoint on how to arm the procurement function of tomorrow to meet the challenge of an ever-changing digital world. The conversation offered guidance and counsel amid an explosion of transformative solutions in the space.

Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO at HICX
Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO at HICX

Bright future

Finally, Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO at HICX, took to the stage to announce the launch of IUBN which he explained was a streamlined way to identify legal entities in a bid to create net efficiency within the supply chain. One system, one time, everywhere.

Speaking exclusively to CPOstrategy at the event, Xyloyiannis told us, “It’s pretty significant running an event like this. I’ve been in the space 23 years, and finally, I feel like the focus is shifting. Two or three years ago no one was talking about supplier experience so it’s great to see a movement starting to happen. It is very satisfying because you see people’s minds changing in the same way that it did for the customer and employee experience.

“What you have to think about is that almost every company is also a supplier so it’s in your interest to focus on the supplier experience side. In another context, you’re also a supplier and people should understand that we’re all in it together. If you don’t think about solving it, then you’re going to have that pain yourself.”

Supplier experience is just getting started. Reimagine the possible.