Better Buying encourages apparel and footwear suppliers to rate the purchasing practices of their customers

Better Buying encourages apparel and footwear suppliers to rate the purchasing practices of their customers

Better Buying, the initiative that encourages suppliers to rate the purchasing practices of global brands and retailers, is to start charging a subscription fee for companies to access feedback on their performance. 

The fee will apply for the 2019 Better Buying ratings cycle beginning 1 October, and will apply to "all retailers and brands wishing to obtain survey results, trends, and related reports," the group says. However, it emphasises that there will continue to be no charge for suppliers to submit ratings.

It adds: "This revenue will help Better Buying build the technology and capacity needed to focus on deeper solutions for industry challenges, with an aim to improve business relationships throughout the supply chain."

Launched back in 2017, Better Buying encourages apparel and footwear suppliers to rate the purchasing practices of their customers, with feedback shared anonymously across seven key categories. These areas include planning and forecasting, design and development, cost and cost negotiation, sourcing and order placement, payment and terms, management of the purchasing process, and CSR harmonisation.

The results not only uncover key trends in buyer behaviour, but also provide companies with actionable insights to help improve future performance.

Momentum is gathering with each ratings cycle, with "a record-breaking high number of submitted ratings during the Q4 2018 cycle," according to Better Buying president and co-founder Marsha Dickson.

"With an increase of over 220% in submitted ratings from the previous cycle, it is evident that both buyers and suppliers have recognised the value of engaging with Better Buying to develop more sustainable business partnerships with mutually beneficial financial and other outcomes."

The next release is the 'Better Buying Index Report 2019,' which is scheduled for early September, and will highlight important differences in the purchasing practices experienced by suppliers in different countries and regions globally.

Among the findings of the last report were that more than 55% of suppliers have been affected by high-pressure cost negotiation strategies – such as not paying for samples (61.4%), not paying in time (only 64.5% of retailers and brands paid bulk order invoices on time) or not paying the full price as indicated in a purchase order (27.3%).

Other tactics include demanding level prices be maintained from year to year, with no consideration for inflation; take it or leave it – meet the target cost or lose the order; and comparing suppliers only on price instead of a full range of attributes.

Many buyers also failed to follow up on their commitments for factory space, leaving suppliers having to scramble to find orders to fill this unused capacity.

And while buying companies are increasingly assessing suppliers on their sustainability initiatives – as well as quality, price and delivery – only a minority support this with incentives such as larger volume orders.

20 buying companies have been praised for working with Better Buying to encourage their suppliers to rate. These are: Bestseller, Bonmarché, Eileen Fisher, G-Star RAW, JP Boden & Company, K-mart Stores (Australia), Mountain Equipment Co-Op, New Balance International, N Brown, Nike, O'Neill Europe, Outerstuff, Reformation, Rohan Designs, Schijvens Confectiefabriek Hilvarenbeek, Target Corporation, The White Company (UK), WE Europe, Whistles, and White Stuff.

Interest from more brands or retailers to learn about how to engage or subscribe are due by 15 August. Click here for more information.