CRM vs. SRM: The Platform for Managing Suppliers

Looking to manage your suppliers with the efficiency of a CRM solution? Discover how cutting-edge SRM solutions are transforming Procurement and supplier relationships!

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has undeniably transformed modern Sales and become its foundation for success. But contrary to MBA lore, CRM wasn't conceived as a brainchild of Tom Siebel in the 1990s. The practice of systematically managing client interactions has roots tracing back to the dawn of commerce itself. While Siebel might have ushered in the era of structured customer data management, CRM's essence echoes age-old practices of fostering customer relationships.

Today, CRM has garnered significant acclaim within business circles – and rightfully so. Understanding your clientele, refining operational efficiencies through shared information, and fostering stronger ties to fortify customer loyalty are pillars fundamental to any contemporary sales strategy – as well as robust CRM software to support Sales teams in these practices and drive efficiency.

Amid CRM’s modern ubiquity, its lesser-known sibling, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), has emerged as an equally pivotal tool for Procurement, Sourcing, and Supply Chain professionals. SRM, in essence, mirrors CRM but with a focus on suppliers rather than customers. It's akin to seeing the same picture through a different lens.

But despite SRM’s similarities with CRM, Procurement is years behind Sales in the adoption of innovation tech solutions to support these invaluable practices. So for those who are less familiar with the power and potential of cutting-edge SRM platforms, here’s a deep dive into CRM and SRM and how Supplier Relationship Management solutions can transform Procurement in the same way that CRM solutions have transformed Sales:



CRM for Suppliers

Both CRM and SRM navigate common territories, albeit with roles reversed. While CRM focuses on sellers cultivating relationships with customers, SRM centers on buyers nurturing ties with suppliers, forming the yin to CRM's yang. Let's explore some shared ground:

Essential Information – Whether managing customers or suppliers, seamless access to key details – such as contact details, company data, and due diligence information – is paramount for efficiency and success. While CRM and SRM differ the essential information that they manage, like credit checks for customers and quality assessments for suppliers, the need for data consolidation and a single source of truth remains universal.

Supplier Agreements – Every business transaction involving the exchange of goods or services hinges on clear terms delineating the what, where, when, and how much. Be it recurring service agreements or one-off purchases, clarity is the linchpin ensuring smooth operations. Like CRM solutions, SRM software empowers Procurement teams to centralize all contracts and agreements for easy access to the key details of their suppliers relationships.

Quality Assurance – Supply chain disruptions pose significant risks for both suppliers and buyers. Suppliers risk losing their customers, facing legal disputes, or damaging their reputation. While buyers can have their ability to maintain production and inventory or meet the quality expectations of their customers. Whether mitigating potential losses or safeguarding reputations, CRM and SRM solutions enable proactive monitoring through audits and scorecards to mitigate risk, enable timely interventions, and streamline corrective measures.

SRM is a win-winSignificant Benefits. No Downsides.

Both CRM and SRM drive significant value when managed adeptly, fostering symbiotic relationships with zero pitfalls. Redirecting our gaze through the SRM lens unveils a spectrum of advantages awaiting those who adopt innovative and robust SRM solutions:

Cost Reduction – Streamlining supplier agreements and renewals with SRM software cuts through administrative red tape, trimming overhead costs, enhancing efficency, and fostering enduring partnerships founded on transparency. This can also be the foundation for forging strategic partnerships with suppliers that delivers long-term cost savings on both sides of the table, with reduced risk of issues with quality or delivery that can drive Procurement teams to search for new suppliers.

Enhanced Efficiency – Empowering suppliers with insights into customer needs and demands enhances operational efficiency, facilitating smoother problem resolution and bolstering consumer satisfaction. And when issues do arise, SRM solutions enable buyers to catch them in time and find solutions faster to mitigate the impact on their end customers.

Stability Amidst Volatility – With new global challenges and the inflation of recent years, price volatility has become a more significant problem for Procurement. Amidst market fluctuations, effective SRM provides a long-term outlook that allows parties to forge stable pricing agreements, shielding buyers, suppliers, and end-users from sudden price upheavals. In the same way that CRM enables clear and stable customer relationships, robust Supplier Relationship Management solutions drive more copacetic partnerships between businesses and suppliers that ensure stronger price stability for both parties.

Exploring New Frontiers – SRM isn't just about managing existing relationships; it opens avenues for collaborative ventures, paving the way for mutually beneficial partnerships. This is especially important today as an increasing number of businesses are redesigning their supply chains to mitigate global risks, which requires the discovery, onboarding, and qualification of many new suppliers. Just as modern CRM empowers Sales to discover new customers and streamline the sales process, SRM platforms like Kodiak Hub empowers Procurement teams to explore new opportunities and drive faster, smarter supply chain transformation.

Read about The 5 Advantages with SRM Software

SRM in Practice

While SRM's theoretical merits are undeniable, real-world examples bring its efficacy to light. Take Toyota, for instance, a trailblazer in nurturing long-term collaborations with suppliers. Despite market downturns, their commitment to SRM has fostered resilience and clarity within their supply chain partnerships.

Similarly, RWC UK's journey exemplifies the transformative potential of SRM. Despite grappling with fragmented data systems, their adoption of Kodiak Hub's SRM solution catalyzed efficiency gains, empowering them to navigate complexities with ease while enhancing sustainability reporting, supplier performance management, collaboration, and innovation.

In essence, while CRM may steal the limelight, delving into the realm of SRM unveils a world of opportunities for businesses keen on forging enduring supplier relationships.

Take a deep dive into how you and your team can adopt an innovation Supplier Relationship Management platform.


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