Better BuyingTM Repeat Subscribers Continue to Improve Purchasing Practices Despite Unprecedented Challenge of COVID-19

2021 Purchasing Practices Index: further evidence that responsible purchasing lies at the heart of supply chain resilience



Brands and retailers who have subscribed with Better BuyingTM over two or more supplier ratings cycles have continued to improve their purchasing practices, and are making progress towards building  more resilient supply chains, despite the unprecedented global challenge of COVID-19.

The findings, published today in the 2021 Better Buying Purchasing Practices IndexTM , reveal that responsible purchasing practices have become a top priority for Better Buying’s subscriber companies, rather than a “nice to have” when times are good. Buyer companies that had already begun the process of improving their purchasing practices prior to COVID-19 by engaging with Better BuyingTM have also put the building blocks in place to help prevent damage to their businesses from future disruptions and shocks.

A total of 21 buyer companies engaged in Better Buying’s fifth annual ratings cycle during Q2 2021. Twelve of these had engaged during previous ratings cycles and could track their improvements over time. Better BuyingTM repeat subscribers improved in some aspects of every category of purchasing practices except Sourcing and Order Placement. The largest average improvement was in Planning and Forecasting, where one subscriber improved its score by an impressive 27 points.

Dr. Marsha Dickson, President and Co-Founder of Better BuyingTM, comments: “Better Buying’s subscribers were already making improvements to their purchasing practices before the pandemic, acting on the anonymous feedback collected from their suppliers to address problem areas and track their progress each year.”

“Given the ongoing challenges of the pandemic globally, we were expecting a lot of bad news from the 2021 data, and for a lot of this progress to have stalled, or gone into reverse. But we were pleasantly surprised. Our subscriber brands and retailers have improved their scores in several areas while facing the most challenging and hostile business environment in living memory.”

The story was not 100% positive, however, as might be expected given the events of the last 18 months. Despite improvements overall in Planning and Forecasting, for example, this was still the area cited by suppliers as the one buyers needed to focus on improving first. In other categories, nearly two-thirds of suppliers reported that some of their buyers had canceled orders after the purchase order had been issued, while others saw  payment terms extended by buyers without their approval. Monthly order variability increased by 20 percentage points compared to last year, which impacted suppliers’ sustainability efforts.

Dr. Dickson concludes: “Alongside the panic that led many companies to protect their own interests at the expense of their suppliers, there has also been a recognition by the global business community that future business survival depends heavily on the resilience of the entire supply chain.”

“Responsible purchasing practices are at the very heart of building that resilience. Companies are already re-subscribing with Better BuyingTM for 2022 because they increasingly understand this and know how important it is to nurture a culture of innovation and good will among their suppliers, who will treat them as customers of choice, partnering to meet market demands. We urge other companies that are interested in starting the process to participate in the next Better BuyingTM ratings cycle, which will take place in April 2022.”