Securing your supply chain

In business, when we think about the importance of introducing and maintaining a strong business telephony system, overwhelmingly we are doing so with our customers in mind. So we choose telephone numbers and calling plans which are most likely to attract customers, we look to providing information lines or help desks, and we introduce answerphone or virtual assistant services for the times when we are unable to immediately respond to callers.

But there is another group of key players who can make all the difference to the success of our business or otherwise. We are talking here about suppliers. No business operates in isolation. And no matter what the internal culture and processes, for many businesses it is suppliers who can have a significant impact on the organisation’s ability to develop and supply goods or services.

Now depending on the nature of your business, the nature and organisational setup of your suppliers will vary. Some may see pan-global or quasi government organisations as their key suppliers whilst others may be more dependent on local producers. But whatever the organisational setup, communication is still key to building and maintaining good supplier relations. So when you are looking to build a telephony system for your business then don’t neglect the importance of including supplies in the mix.

It may be that the telephone numbers and call answering pathways that best meet your customer needs will also be appropriate for your suppliers. However, you may also find that allocating separate telephone numbers for your suppliers to use will make it easy for them to call and therefore strengthen the relationship. You may even opt for a freephone supplier line which encourages suppliers to call without a cost to them. Alternatively, pre-programming supplier telephone numbers into the virtual switchboard could enable you to make use of caller recognition and seamlessly transfer supplier calls to the correct department.

And don’t neglect the importance of considering your suppliers when drawing up your business continuity plan. By ensuring that they are included in your SMS text notification lists and by providing them with dedicated contact pathways, they can play their part in helping your business to rapidly recover from a disaster.

There is one other area which you need to consider when looking at suppliers and that is supply chain security. Flagged up as a current concern on a recent cyber briefing from the South West police, supply chain attacks can breach confidential security, steal login passwords or compromise websites. Recommendations from the South West regional cyber crime unit include:

  • building an understanding of the security risks involved with your supply chain
  • raising awareness of security within your supply chain
  • seeking continuous improvement of security within your supply chain and building trust with your suppliers

Understanding, awareness, trust; all these will be boosted with a communication system which not only encourages dialogue, but is also secure. So when you are looking to the way in which your business telephone system best meets the needs of your business, don’t neglect your suppliers. Securing your supply chain could prove to be one of the best business decisions you have made.

Written by Alison