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Marmitegate

Context of the Organisation / Thursday 13th of October 2016

Marmitegate

Will some of our most popular brands disappear from our shelves? 

The current, and very public, dispute between Tesco and Unilever has highlighted how quickly external factors can impact your relationship with your suppliers. Will this current game of ‘poker’ between these two organisations affect the ongoing relationship that’s been years in the making, or could it affect the levels of trust we as consumers have in both organisations? Only time will tell.

Without getting into the rights and wrongs of the current dispute, the fact that this major disagreement is being played out in the public domain between one of our largest retailers and our biggest food and grocery manufacturer would suggest not all is well within the customer/client relationship. Could this have been avoided or is it an inherent risk factor given that both organisations are standing up for their industries? 

For any business, choosing a supplier can be an incredibly tough job. Is choosing a supplier influenced purely by price and the ability to deliver? Or are there other factors that need to be taken into consideration? Is Supply Chain Risk Management ever considered when contracting suppliers?

Identifying and managing supply chain risks can often be a revelation and impact on your strategy and reputation. Developing a robust methodology for identifying Supply Chain risk will help you to expose possible threats to your organisation, especially when a breakdown in your relationship occurs. A key tool to manage such a risk is maintaining the ability to have a conversation. In today’s constant changing world, with increasing reliance on digital communication, open conversations between the various parties about the risks to their relationship does not occur often enough. Organisations will often find by simply having a discussion with their suppliers about a situation will result in a simple and mutually beneficial outcome. Of course, there needs to be a process to support these conversations in order to ensure that they are documented and acted upon when necessary.

Organisations need to ensure that risk information is being shared across all areas to promote a holistic approach to problem solving and strategic decision making. The supply chain risk management methodology promotes open collaboration and a co-operative approach.

As customers, is this too much to expect from both Tesco’s and Unilever in their recent dispute?