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Client Service Agility in Post-Crisis International Procurement


Trust and loyalty are earned - not demanded or claimed. Every international supplier (not just of IT devices) will need to step up a level to come out of the crisis on a positive note. When CV-19 and the ensuing recession become a memory, our clients, and yours, will remember how they were treated during the crisis. Will it be for our empathy, care and genuine concern for the issues they faced? Or will it be for how we sought to take advantage of the situation for profit or competitive advantage?  

Key changes can be expected in the procurement world post-COVID-19 world and companies who fail to build capabilities and capacity for a potentially fast-changing business environments will be at risk. As suppliers we need to pulse check our clients on a regular basis to understand shifting priorities and be able to innovate and respond in an agile manner.  

At Markit, we have identified several areas where suppliers can focus to serve their clients better including the following: 

1. Team trust and safety will be paramount as well as demonstration of genuine caring not only for clients but for our staff and partners too. If we are to mitigate the pains and risks ahead, these troubled waters must be navigated together: let’s not forget that. Team members need to understand and believe that their employers have got their backs in terms of job security and will help provide the necessary tools to remain productive. They will want to see that new or flexible working arrangements ensure their personal safety and ideally, that of their families too.  ​​​​​​​ 

2. We see our clients need digital at-home experiences and working environments and that this trend is likely to continue beyond the immediate impact of the virus, as remote working trends become more established. Companies who are geared to offer secure remote working to their employees and partners will surely gain competitive advantages. ​​​​​​​ 

3. International companies will need suppliers that can seamlessly and quickly deliver secure remote working and collaborative communications devices and tools directly to home offices wherever they are in the world. The challenge here will be for companies to find partners who can offer local-to-local home deliveries through a single centralised procurement platform like Markit’s.

The dilemma of combining multinational local-to-local delivery with centralised procurement for IT hardware and accessories is illustrated in our short report: Solving the Indirect IT Procurement Dilemma (results based on insights gained from purchasing data analysis of over 6000 of our clients behaviour across 34 countries in Q1 2020.) 

4. Cost cutting in the upcoming recession is an inevitable goal and companies will increasingly look to digital procurement solutions that allow real time price comparisons for IT hardware and accessories (and other supplies) that can be delivered within fast timeframes. Slow tendering and long-term commitments will become increasingly undesirable options when future requirement volumes are difficult to predict. Whilst volumes of orders may be unpredictable, these cost savings will be paramount, and yet companies will need enhanced, not reduced, customer service levels and the whole purchasing experience should be seamless and time saving, given the multiple issues international procurement teams are facing. Suppliers will need to inform and educate companies on how to use automated procurement systems to save money, in the way Markit clients have successfully done.​​​​​​​ See Markit client success stories on SlideShare. 

5. Procurement managers will need to feel “peace of mind” that their suppliers will be with them for the difficult journey ahead. Promises and claims alone won’t cut it. Suppliers will need to demonstrate through higher levels of client contact, surveys, social media monitoring and other mechanisms, that they are proactively listening and keeping a near real time pulse on the situations affecting their area. Listening to front line staff will become more important than ever as they are closest to the client and best understand the shifting pain points. Agile responses and superior levels of customer service and experience will be expected and ultimately become the norm. 

Markit’s CEO, Andres Agasild, summed up the situation thus:

“The Markit spirit of one for all and all for one couldn’t be more important now, drawing clients and partners closer and helping them as best we can- that’s what we are doing and what we would advise to other suppliers who want to genuinely help their clients and earn strong post-crisis relationships.”