Working with our suppliers in challenging times12 August 2020
Since March, we have all been impacted in some way by the measures and changes that we have had to make in response to COVID-19. Our suppliers have also been impacted and their response during this time has been a real testament to the strong relationships we have built over the years to ensure we are all resilient and robust.
Many of our major suppliers have played a significant role in helping support some of our actions to manage our finances and protect our business, which we are extremely grateful for, whether through accepting longer payment terms, agreeing to a reduced contract scope, consenting to revised project schedules, or in many instances all of these.
It is so important that we understand the impacts of our decisions on our suppliers and we have taken great care to ensure that the small and medium enterprises that we work with are not unduly penalised by our efforts, as of course their circumstances are likely to differ from the larger multinational suppliers that we work with.
It is vital that we do not put our supplier’s financial viability and sustainment of their businesses at risk, when they are also facing difficulties. There is a clear mutual interest in getting the balance right to ensure we preserve and nurture the capability and skill sets of our supply base, which we will need in the future.
We have been in regular dialogue with our suppliers, more than normal, to ensure that our relationships remain as strong as before and that any changes to plans and processes are as seamless as possible. It is a two-way street with alternative arrangements having to be discussed and agreed so the best outcome for both parties can be reached.
In the coming months we will be launching a Supplier Charter, that sets out how we expect to work with existing and new suppliers, along with what they can expect from us and what we will expect of them. The Charter will be essential for ensuring we maintain the strong relationships we have built throughout the tough times ahead.
We are also planning to host a Q&A session with some of our major suppliers, as well as a series of workshop sessions for groups of suppliers that work across similar areas of our business.
As the pandemic continues, we know how important it is to be able to share information and communicate quickly and clearly on the actions we are taking and the impact these may have.
Collaborative working has always held us in good stead; let’s make sure that we continue to work closely together and get through these turbulent times together.
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