May 17, 2020

A unified solution for multi-channel communications procurement

Supply Chain
Nick Barbeary
4 min
Technology is transforming the relationship between the client and customer.
The digital age has changed the relationship between company and customer.

Success, therefore, increasingly relies on making the customer experience a...

The digital age has changed the relationship between company and customer.

Success, therefore, increasingly relies on making the customer experience a happy one and critical to this is how the company communicates with them.

Today, the key brand differentiator is often not product or price but customer experience. Indeed, 89% of consumers have switched to a competitor when that experience was considered poor.

New technologies such as email, smart apps and instant messaging are transforming the communication landscape and together with artificial intelligence (AI), they enable companies to implement customer-centric, multi-channelled communication strategies.

For procurement professionals, the challenge lies in adopting new communications technologies and adapting procurement processes to keep pace with development.

Recent research published in The Hackett Group’s 2019 CPO Agenda: Building Next Generation Capabilities highlights that procurement is prioritising investment in technologies that will provide advanced, data-driven capabilities and, for many, communications is a key area.

However, the adoption of such technologies doesn’t come without its challenges. Expanding the number of channels through which to communicate can require a multi-vendor sourcing strategy where a range of suppliers is needed for the various services, with specialists sought for the supply of print management, digital communications and so forth. The difficulty here is that the disjointed nature of such a setup makes the creation of a centrally managed, multi-channel strategy far more problematic.

It also results in an incohesive purchasing environment in which there is increasingly complex sourcing, tendering and evaluating and where onerous, time-consuming, ordering processes impact on productivity. Having separate suppliers for each communication service requires additional time to manage relationships, negotiate contracts, track performance and undertake audits.


A far less complex set up, for both the procurement team and the departments dealing with communications, would be to work with a single communications partner that can deliver an end-to-end solution while providing the specific services needed for multi-channel communications, such as data analytics, print marketing and digital services. 

Collaboration with a trusted partner

The current economic climate means many companies are operating under tight budgets. For managers tasked with reining in marketing expenses, there are several advantages to developing a strategic partnership with a trusted communications company that has the resources, expertise and capacity to undertake wider communications briefs.

Where the partner has evident proficiency across the communications spectrum and demonstrates guaranteed capacity, flexibility and scale, not only are effective communications strategies delivered but they are done so more cost-effectively.

The process of working with a single communications partner streamlines the procurement process, enabling the procurement team to work more productively on other tasks. By integrating departments, technologies, devices and channels to create a cohesive strategy, companies can simplify operations and thus deliver unified communication processes that are cost-effective, easier to manage and inherently more secure. 

Working with a valued communications partner enables procurement professionals to benefit from the expertise and fresh ideas of innovators and leading communications strategists. Such collaborations can make advantageous use of the company’s assets: mining its data to profile customers, mapping customer journeys and deciding on the most effective communication channels. In this way, the company can improve its Return on Investment (ROI) while making certain that its objectives, such as acquisitions, upselling or compliance, are achieved.   

Data plays a critical role in modern communications. An expert partner can deliver the data insights required to execute complex strategies and their knowledge of how data is best applied is central to creating highly effective, personalised customer journeys. Where a company is uncertain about the best use of its data, a partner will have the latest technologies on hand to analyse customer behaviour and deliver apt solutions.  

Ensuring regulatory compliance

Companies are facing ever tougher regulations in the way that they collect, handle and store their data and this includes how it is shared with third parties such as communication suppliers. One of the benefits of using a single communications partner is that the number of companies you will need to work with is reduced, simplifying the data auditing process and reducing the risk of data loss. Importantly, a trusted partner will ensure that a company meets its legal and regulatory obligations. With recent legislation, such as GDPR, now in effect, this provides much-needed peace of mind.   

Overall, the development of new technologies has increased the pressure on companies to offer multichannel communications in order to improve the customer experience. This has had a significant impact on procurement teams at a time when many businesses are working with tighter budgets. Collaborating with an expert and proficient communications partner enables procurement professionals to seize these new opportunities in a cost-effective and efficient way.   


By Nick Barbeary, Client Development Director at Paragon Customer Communications.

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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