Better Buying Partnership Index TM 2023: Buyer-supplier partnership quality up by just one point on last year 

Buyers urged to focus on communication with suppliers amid decline in business stability 



The quality of buyer-supplier partnerships in global supply chains has only slightly improved since last year, indicating that suppliers are still feeling the impact of disruption more than two years on from the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The overall Better Buying Partnership Index TM (BBPI) score increased by just one point on last year (40 based on data collected in 2022, compared to 39 in 2021), with noticeable drops in scores for business stability (down 6.7%) and the visibility buyers provide to suppliers (down 2.4%).

On the positive side, small gains were seen in a number of areas compared to 2021, including the extent to which buyers make efforts to reduce duplicative audit requirements (up 4.2%), the fairness of buyers’ financial practices (up 4.1%), and buyers’ efforts to improve working conditions in their supply chains (up 3.3%). There was also a 2.1% increase in the number of suppliers reporting that a buyer was a preferred partner.

There was also a small and emerging trend in the use of technology to improve operational efficiency, communication, and other aspects of buyer-supplier partnerships. This suggests suppliers’ expectations of how they engage with buyers might be changing, and provides opportunities for buyers to identify and implement technologies that could strengthen their supplier partnerships.

In total, the purchasing practices of 160 buyers were rated in the BBPI, by far the largest number for any Better Buying TM Index to date (and up from 100 for last year’s BBPI). 

Brands and retailers who subscribed to the BBPI in 2021 and participated again in 2022, improved their overall BBPI score by an average of 3 points. One repeat subscriber improved its overall score by 10 points.

Dr. Marsha Dickson, President and Co-Founder of Better Buying Institute, comments: “The Better Buying Partnership Index TM is an effective tool for measuring partnership quality, identifying areas of improvement and tracking performance over time.”

“Today’s findings underpin how important it is for brands and retailers to maintain strong communication with suppliers as the industry continues to ride out the aftershocks of Covid-19. The inventory challenges being experienced today demand much better communication than what has been the industry norm, and the decline in business stability compared to last year is a warning note we can’t afford to ignore, given what we know about the connection between unstable business and ordering on the part of buyers, and factory-level noncompliances.”

Brands and retailers are encouraged to subscribe with Better Buying TM and to take advantage of disaggregated reporting to dig deeper into partnership quality with suppliers in different regions, product categories, and other segments of their business. 

Dr. Dickson concludes: “BBPI subscribers who also subscribe to the Better Buying Purchasing Practices Index TM will gain valuable insights for how to improve in all areas of their purchasing practices, and are likely to see the most improvements.”