All You Need to Know About Supplier Performance Monitoring

Supplier performance monitoring is a critical process in the procurement cycle. With increased globalization and complex supply chains, organizations need visibility into supplier performance to mitigate risks and drive value. This article provides an overview of supplier performance monitoring and its key benefits.

What is supplier performance monitoring?

Supplier performance monitoring is the systematic collection and evaluation of supplier metrics over time. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are established to measure supplier performance against business objectives across cost, quality, delivery, sustainability, and innovation.

By regularly monitoring supplier KPIs, organizations gain visibility into supplier performance trends. This enables fact-based supplier management instead of gut feelings and anecdotal feedback. Issues can be identified early and addressed proactively through corrective actions.

Why is supplier performance monitoring important?

Supplier performance has a direct impact on overall organizational performance. According to Deloitte, the cost of poor quality from suppliers can be as high as 25% of turnover. Without monitoring, poor supplier performance can quickly spiral into lost revenue, reputational damage, and higher costs.

Effective supplier performance monitoring provides the following key benefits:

  • Identify high- and low-performing suppliers.

Regular performance reviews objectively identify both high- and low-performing suppliers. Top suppliers can be rewarded with more business, while underperforming ones can be asked for corrective actions. Over time, this drives supplier motivation and performance improvement.

  • Proactively manage supplier risks.

By tracking metrics like quality defect rates, on-time delivery, and responsiveness, upcoming supplier risks can be flagged early. Proactive mitigation reduces the probability of production stoppages, stock-outs, penalties, and other disruptions.

  • Negotiate better contracts.

Fact-based performance data gives procurement added leverage during contract negotiations. Price increases and concessions can be justified with proper data.

  • Drive continuous improvement.

Monitoring provides insights into where suppliers need improvement. Suppliers can then be coached and assisted through training, technology adoption, and other means for a win-win situation.

  • Capture performance trends.

Data-driven insights into performance patterns and trends by supplier, material group, and geography are invaluable for supply chain planning and optimizing future sourcing decisions.

Critical success factors for an effective supplier performance monitoring process

  • Define key performance indicators.

The first step is determining the right KPIs to monitor, based on business objectives and supplier type.

For a manufacturing supplier, quality, delivery, and responsiveness may be monitored. For a service supplier, cost, contract adherence, and issue resolution rate could be relevant.

KPI targets are defined based on baseline performance, industry benchmarks, best practices, and stakeholder expectations. Weights are assigned to KPIs based on their impact on the business.

  • Take note of performance data.

Relevant data for the defined KPIs should be captured at the required frequencies, like daily, weekly, or monthly.

Data can be obtained from ERP, inspection reports, supplier self-reporting via scorecards, and user surveys.

Automated data capture minimizes manual effort while also improving data accuracy.

  • Monitor and analyse performance.

With supplier performance data in place, dashboards and analytics provide visibility into metrics versus targets over time.

Analytics and drill-downs help identify the root causes behind failures, trends, and patterns. Exception reporting highlights severe underperformance for priority action.

  • Take action through review meetings.

Finally, structured review meetings should be conducted with suppliers at a senior level on a periodic basis.

Reviews discuss performance over the past period, address concerns through joint problem solving, review corrective actions, and reset expectations for the next period.

They provide a forum for providing feedback, addressing disputes, and reinforcing continuous improvement.

What are the key components of a supplier performance monitoring framework?

For maximum impact, the following four components are crucial:

  • Granular performance data

The necessary performance metrics should be identified and tracked in a granular manner—by supplier site, material, and region—to allow for targeted evaluation and analysis. This enables businesses to go into depth and pinpoint problems so that they can make the necessary corrections to improve the performance of their suppliers. Tracking trend of data over time can also provide insights. The perfect level of granularity is the one that achieves meaningful segmentation and data manageability at the same time. Reviewing metrics on a periodic basis will help to align them with the changing business conditions.

  • Automated tracking

Tracking done manually and with spreadsheets is often inaccurate because it has incomplete data. Automated retrieval from source systems also needs supplier scorecards for a proper and reliable monitoring. Integration with suppliers’ systems makes the timely data collection more precise as well. Automation gets rid of tedious manual work, saves resources from being used and reduces human errors that inevitably arise from manual processes. Though the reporting system should be user-friendly in order to encourage adoption. Change management is the vital part of the process when you are moving from a manual to an automated system.

  • Objective performance targets

KPI targets need to be realistic, objective, and aligned to business needs, not arbitrarily set. Targets and weightages should also be customized by supplier type and category managed to account for differences. Periodic benchmarking ensures targets are calibrated to industry standards. Statistical models can help determine appropriate performance levels based on historical data. Targets should stretch suppliers but still be reasonably achievable. They must be clearly communicated, along with the rationale, to secure supplier buy-in.

  • Supplier engagement

Two-way communication and corrective action closure with suppliers through regular reviews ensures performance improvement. Suppliers are partners in the monitoring process, not passive bystanders. A collaborative approach boosts supplier ownership and mutually beneficial goal alignment. Discussion of performance data in a constructive manner minimizes defensiveness. Site visits provide context and demonstrate commitment. Ongoing engagement, support and training reinforce the shared objective of driving improvement.


With growing supply chain complexity, organizations can no longer rely on fragmented, reactive approaches to manage the extended enterprise. Supplier performance monitoring provides much-needed visibility to proactively identify and mitigate supplier risks before they turn into real issues.

By establishing the right KPIs, data capture mechanisms, and regular reviews, procurement tool gains a strategic seat at the table, helping improve business metrics across cost, quality, delivery, and innovation. However, a monitoring program requires continued commitment and discipline to sustain impact.

Rome was not built in a day. But a sound supplier performance monitoring program, with executive sponsorship, cross-functional involvement, and consistent execution, holds the key to building high-performance supply chains over time through rigorous measurement, analysis and engagement with partners.

Explore further by checking out our related articles for a deeper dive into the topic.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

Related Articles

Back to top button