OSTKonline, OSTK, outsourcing toolkit

Advocacy and governance

Example of supplier forums

In this example you will:

  • Learn what a supplier forum is
  • Discover a step-by-step approach to setting effective agenda items
  • See an example of a successful supplier forum

What are supplier forums?

A supplier forum is a tool for communication between government supply chain management organisations and private suppliers. Holding supplier forums encourages networking for beneficial relationships beyond the forum. Supplier forums are networking meetings between supply chain management organisations from the public sector and private sector suppliers (individuals or organisations providing supply chain products or services). They can be centred on a particular health programme (e.g. HIV/AIDS) or a particular functional activity in the supply chain (e.g. freight forwarding).

Supplier forums share best practices, strategic approaches, innovation and product developments, scientific and regulatory updates between the public sector and private suppliers. They are a platform to encourage interactions and networking among participants that can initiate beneficial and long-lasting relationships beyond the forum.

Supplier forums occur periodically on scheduled dates at set locations. The government would host the forum and invite participants from the private sector at their discretion. The private sector can also fulfil the role of host. The forum contains a set agenda for participants to follow. This might include breakaway sessions on specific topics with time allocated for networking or discussion.

Step-by-step approach to setting deliberate and effective agenda items

A successful supplier forum agenda can adopt a ‘3P’ approach. Adopting a ‘3P’ approach ensures supplier forums are planned and executed well to achieve their purpose. The 3 'P's stand for purpose, people and process.

1. Purpose: Begin by defining the overall purpose of the supplier forum in a discernible manner, why it is being held and what it aims to achieve. Construct the purpose statement as a ‘do-able’ such as ‘to share best practices in warehouse management’. If there are breakaway subject-specific sessions planned for the forum, define the purpose for each session.

2. Process: Define how the agenda items will run, what specific things will take place within the supplier forum to achieve the purpose (e.g. presentations, panel discussions, networking sessions).

3. People: Define who will attend the supplier forum to achieve the purpose. Invite participants in a timely manner and ensure they understand what is expected of them when they arrive at the forum.

Example of a successful supplier platform

The Nutrition Health programme forum hosted by the united nations international children’s fund is an example of a successful supplier platform. A two-day forum in 2019 to learn about progress made towards meeting nutrition-supply related result indicators (purpose statement). The forum was structured in breakaway sessions on topics of supply chain functions, each with an agenda and technical experts (where relevant). The agenda from the two-day forum is outlined below.

Nutrition supply forum - Agenda Day 1

Programme session

Welcome and opening remarks

UNICEF Supply Division overview

Sustainable Development Goals and UNICEF's nutrition strategy

Update on WHO Guidelines on Nutrition including scientific evidence requirements for new RUTF products

Procurement and contracting session

UNICEF's influencing markets approach

UNICEF Nutrition procurement overview and update for key commodities

WFP Nutrition procurement overview and update for key commodities

USAID/FFP Nutrition procurement overview and update for key commodities

Supplying to UNICEF - contracting process for nutrition products and contract management

Panel discussion: market experience with raw materials - dairy, peanuts, vitamins and minerals

Anthropometric equipment: tender and market update

Technical and quality assurance session

Quality Assurance System for Nutrition Products - Policy Framework

Results of UNICEF Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) and testing of nutritional products in 2018+ Trending of test results for improved performance

Specifications and quality assurance for anthropometric equipment

GMP Inspections: new trends and major observations

Updates on regulation: Codex and RUTF & MNP

Nutrition supply forum - Agenda Day 2

Technical and quality assurance session

Inter-Agency stability requirements for specialized foods

Process capability and statistical process control (SPC)

Update from Inter-Agency working group for specialized Nutritious Food Products

Upstream and downstream supply chain session

UNICEF response to emergencies

Supply chain of nutrition products and supply chain issues

Markets, products and innovation session

UNICEF's approach to innovation and scaling up innovation for nutrition

RUTF formulations with alternative ingredients

Innovation height measuring devices

Market place with presentations and exhibitions on various topics

Wrap-up and closing

Summary of Enabler Tool: Advocacy and governance

This Enabler Tool, Advocacy and governance, has focused on how to develop an advocacy process for developing outsourcing buy-in. Advocacy and governance have guided you through understanding stakeholder expectations, guidelines for advocacy processes and tools and supplied examples of governance structure and communication platforms. Advocacy and governance work with Policy, People and Technology to support the Process Steps.