As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You're responsible for ensuring that your products or services are of the highest quality, that your employees are happy and productive, and that your customers are satisfied. Add on top of that you are dealing with the energy crisis, supply chain disruption and a looming recession. Then underlying all of those challenges, you have the ongoing worry about managing IT infrastructure, who hosts it, and of course what third parties have access to it and mitigating the risk of exposing your business to cyber threats. That's why supplier management of third parties is of paramount importance.

Cyber security risk management is centered around identifying gaps, monitoring and managing the potential risk third parties pose to your business.  

One of the most common IT problems faced by businesses today is the severity of data breaches. This can happen when a vendor does not have adequate security measures in place or when an employee of a vendor mishandles information and opens the back door to hackers. Data breaches can be devastating to a business, causing financial loss, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust.  

Here a just a few of the big names attacked by cyber criminals exposing sensitive data and causing serious business disruption and damage to corporate reputation.

Text says more than 80% of UK organisations experienced some form of Cyber attack in 2021/2022

Businesses are increasingly storing sensitive data in the cloud, including client information, employee records, and intellectual property. With the terrifying rise in numbers of data breaches and cyber-attacks, businesses must be even more vigilant and diligent in protecting their information and evaluating their third party vendors and ensuring they are closing loopholes that could result in data leaks – accidental or malicious.  

Third party risk strategy should be embedded into every business as it is a solid foundation to build a resilient business.  

The first step to build a robust third party strategy is to identify all third parties your organisation engages with. Missing out that one supplier could be disastrous if they are the weak link that opens the door and welcomes in hackers.

Next evaluate the level of access each vendor has to your data.

Ask every vendor to complete a risk assessment questionnaire. The objective is to assess the level of risk based on how much access they have to sensitive data. You may require supplementary questions for third parties with higher level of access to data. Think about the organisations accessing your data from the IT company hosting your IT systems, your outsourced payroll holding employee data through to the small print company round the corner printing event invitations to your mailing list.  

An audit of third parties can be simply done with the right tools and will make it easy to conduct a thorough review of each vendor's cyber security policies and procedures, as well as their track record when it comes to compliance with regulations and data security protocols.  

One last point, you should also consider the financial stability of each vendor and their insurance coverage in the worst case scenario that something does go wrong. 

When the due diligence is complete you can feel confident that your chosen suppliers are the right third parties for your business.  

Supplier management is a vital part of any business's cyber security strategy. By conducting due diligence on vendors, identifying gaps and demanding they meet certain standards you are not only safeguarding your business but their business too.  

Take the steps now to resolve some of the most common IT problems, such as data breaches, compliance issues, and third-party risks before disaster strikes resulting in business disruption, reputational damage and hefty fines.  

Don’t bury you head in the sand, take control of your third-party relationships today. By managing suppliers, you stop exposing your business to a high level of unmanaged risk.

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If your client asks for your list of suppliers today, what would you do?

Some might think it odd to be asked for your company’s list of suppliers. However, this is becoming a frequently asked question during the procurement process. Companies are expected to share who they are doing business with and confirm they too are managing their suppliers and working with responsible companies. It is a fact that the corporate responsibility buck stops with your company and not the supplier further down the supply chain.  

The number of requests for supply chain due diligence is rising rapidly, this is due to the ongoing disruption to businesses on a global scale. Companies are desperately seeking stability in a quagmire of uncertainty. That is why businesses want to work with resilient companies who actively manage their third-party relationships. 

Every day, we hear more about the horrors of the climate crisis, rising inflation, cyber threats and the energy crisis. There is no escape. We are all experiencing the financial and environmental impact on a personal and business level, albeit at varying degrees. 

Let us not forget the disruption to the flow of goods and services along the fragile local and supply chains. The knock-on effect is that companies who are keen to ride the storm ahead need to buckle up and ensure they are doing business with the right suppliers. That is why more and more businesses are reaching out to their suppliers and carrying out robust due diligence. They need to know who you do business with and ask suppliers to fact check areas such as financial resilience or their ESG accreditation for example.  

One of our clients recently told us their team members are responding to approximately 30-60 requests a day to provide evidence of supplier due diligence. This is fast becoming the norm but why now? It is because consumers and businesses are collectively driving the demand for every company to act responsibly. 

How do you know who you are doing business with? 

To achieve this, you need to gain visibility of every supplier your company is doing business with. Also ensure the companies are the right ones to do business with – for you and your clients.  

3 steps to gain supply chain visibility? 

1 Digitise your supplier list in one location 

Assign a project manager to gather and collate a list of suppliers from every department. Upload them onto a digital supplier management platform and there is no need for out-of-date spreadsheets. 

2 Audit your supplier list 

The sooner all your suppliers are in one place the easier and faster it is to respond to due diligence enquiries surrounding your supply chains 

3 Create a community of responsible suppliers 

Audit and score each supplier and assess the risk of doing business with them on a single supplier management platform 

Be ready to provide a fully audited list of your suppliers with Pulse Market’s supplier management. Your clients will love you for this.  

Request a demo today and discover a suite of tools and features for supplier management.

Every day, businesses are challenged with making the right decisions that will keep them profitable and gain a competitive edge. One of the most critical decisions for any business is selecting the right suppliers they do business with and control risk. The way a business manages their supply chain is now under the spotlight like never before. Read on to find out why.

Why allocate resources to supplier management?

Transparency around who you do business with is paramount to be considered a company to be trusted and survive public scrutiny. Supplier management, however, can be a time-consuming process with back-and-forth emails, managing data in spreadsheets and saving files, documents and information, all wasting days, weeks and even months. Allocating time for supplier management can be even more difficult for resource poor SMEs struggling to keep up with new demands from customers and their own suppliers. 

Our clients tell us that they are dealing with an increasing number of daily requests from their customers who are demanding clarity around their supply chains. Companies keen to manage risk are right to request transparency around who suppliers are using and how ethical and sustainable the supply chain is. Consequently, every business must ensure they are buying from the right suppliers to mitigate risk that a supplier could expose your business to.  

Making sound, informed decisions about your company’s supply chain can be difficult. Especially when there are so many factors to consider, however, compromising on quality can be a deathblow to any business. The challenge for businesses without dedicated procurement teams is that they are struggling to reallocate resources. It is difficult to gather the right information and review suppliers to identify the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) gaps. However, refusing to compromise on who you do business with will help you thrive in demanding times.  

The challenge today is how can a business facing rising inflation and rising costs allocate resources to supplier management and gain the competitive edge.  The solution is Pulse Market.

Managing and aligning your supplier is easy! Talk to Pulse Market

Pulse Market is changing the game for SMEs and procurement professionals. Our platform provides clarity in an increasingly complex world, giving you the relevant information you need to manage your supply chain. Now you can upload, categorise, grade, and manage all your suppliers in a centralised digitised location.  

Get in touch today for a demo and take the pain out of supplier management. 

Being competitively priced is no longer enough to gain the competitive edge. Today organisations are judged on who they do business with and how they do business. Reputation can be damaged overnight by one weak supplier. Just one supplier can pose a huge risk to your business by exposing your company to vulnerabilities such as cyber security leaks, high carbon emissions or modern day slavery.

Take practical steps to attract the right suppliers

There are practical steps that businesses can take to ensure you attract the right suppliers, ones closely aligned with your values and will protect your businesses reputation. 

Firstly, it is important to be easy to deal with and this comes from within your organisation. Before contacting suppliers, ensure that internal communication is clear and goals are agreed upon.

Secondly, businesses should build a level playing field for all supplier types - small businesses should have the same opportunity to compete as larger businesses. Also, ask the right questions when considering suppliers, be specific about what you want in order to avoid wasting your time and your potential suppliers. Next, be highly specific about what you are looking for in a supplier. This will help to narrow down the search and ensure you find a supplier that meets your specific needs.

Remember that supplier management is an ongoing process - it is not a one-time exercise. You should assess, review, and maintain your supplier relationships on a regular basis to ensure the smooth running of your business and minimise risk.

Delve deeper and collaborate with your current and potential suppliers to support each other during the economic downturn and energy crisis. Now is a good to talk frankly and discuss ways to you can both save costs for example managing realistic deadlines to avoid overtime costs.  

Adopt the latest technology to streamline processes, collaborate and share information easily and enabling you to respond faster. By storing and retrieving relevant documents, you will be able to respond quickly to DDQs from third parties who are checking your cyber resilience, ESG accreditation.

Employ automation to avoid tedious copy and paste or arduous word searches seeking files on company systems. This frees up valuable resource to spend building meaningful human relationships with suppliers and accessing their expertise to proactively improve supplier relationships, together.  

In summary the 7 steps to building a good supplier relationship are: 

1 Be easy to deal with 

2 Agree priorities internally before reaching out to suppliers e.g cost, turnaround times, qualifications etc 

3 Build a level playing field for businesses of all shapes and sizes 

4 Ask the right questions to avoid time wasted 

5 Be highly specific about your requirements 

6 Outline your organisations minimum ISO requirements and accreditations 

7 Provide constructive feedback 

By attracting the right supplier you will help your business to run smoothly and avoid business disruption and damaged reputation.  

Ready to manage third party risk? Find out more about VRM on Pulse Market and book a call.

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