Intermediate Courses

Supplier Relationship Management

This one-day workshop focuses upon designing, mobilising and managing structured improvement programs for strategic suppliers and contracts.

This course is designed for:

The workshop is aimed at category managers, sourcing advisors and contract managers who are responsible for managing strategic contracts and/or strategic suppliers. The focus is upon ensuring strong relationships and changing the status quo to deliver better value. It is assumed that participants in this workshop are experienced in contract management, and are familiar with contract management tools and techniques.

Course structure

There will be pre- and post-workshop activities totalling about 90 minutes additional workload, as the workshop is founded upon 70/20/10 principles. The pre-workshop activity will stimulate thought about managing strategic contracts. The workshop will be led by an experienced facilitator, and will include nine sessions involving exercises, case studies, presentations and discussions. The post-workshop activity will seek to reinforce the learning and to maximise the transfer from the workshop to the workplace.

Benefits of attending

Attendance will build capability in managing strategic suppliers and contracts, and designing and managing effective improvement programs.

As well as this participants will gain three key benefits from attending:

  • More capability in aligning suppliers to work cooperatively on joint projects with shared goals
  • Less likelihood of the contract outcomes failing to meet expectations or forecast benefits
  • Greater understanding of influencing and interpersonal skills required to build effective relationships

Key learning outcome

  • Design interactions with ‘strategic’ suppliers, focusing effort in proportion to risk, value and complexity
  • Manage benefit realisation during the contract so that contract results are more consistent with forecasts
  • Engage with and motivate suppliers to align with structured improvement programs
  • Design and implement an appropriate ‘dashboard’ of metrics and key performance indicators


Course Content


Segmenting supplier relationships

  • Value risk approach and using the value risk matrix
  • Developing a portfolio of supplier relationships
  • Deconstructing elements of supplier relationships
  • Understanding the context, environment and balance of power between the parties
  • Differentiating behaviour for strategic relationships

Developing joint improvement programs with suppliers

  • Opportunity analysis; how much by when
  • Building support and aligning stakeholders
  • Planning the program

Getting ‘buy in’ from the supplier

  • Profiling stakeholders and engaging at the right level
  • Pitching the benefits and answering the ‘WIIFM’ question
  • Mobilising a pilot program

Linking improvement to contract goals

  • Categorising anticipated benefits
  • Building a contract performance dashboard
  • Securing supplier participation

Setting realistic targets for improvement

  • Base-lining the ‘status quo’ and current performance
  • Setting realistic targets for improvement and developing KPIs
  • Assigning accountability for performance

Sample client-led strategies

  • Reducing total cost
  • Improving capability
  • Developing competition

Support in improvement

  • Clarifying who is responsible for what: RACI charts
  • Root cause analysis, affinity mapping and brainstorming
  • The role of feedback in motivating performance

Managing performance and providing feedback

  • Pre-meeting actions
  • Giving and receiving feedback – conducting performance reviews

Dealing with poor or non-performance

  • Escalation processes and conflict resolution
  • Commercial and contractual remedies
  • Importance of considering impact/risk and cost to transition to new supplier
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