ESD Strategy

How an SME attains SLA

Opening up your supply chain to SME suppliers can be nerve-wracking. As supply chain, you serve the needs of business, and business is impatient. Business, to operate effectively, needs to procure with confidence.

Service level agreements are designed to achieve this. Essentially, as a contract between a corporate supply chain as a service to the corporate business as a client, the SLA sets the standard and allows the value chain in the business to be optimised, efficient and certain.

Failure to attain the SLA stalls operations, breaks trust and impedes processes. But how does a business, especially an SME supplier, attain an SLA? It's not through the sterling personality of the entrepreneur alone. Most SMEs are entrepreneur-driven and remain so until they either are built differently or have to be built differently when attaining big volumes of activity.

Getting ahead of the crises means that you should, as an SME, build your business into an Asset of Value. A key characteristic of an Asset of Value is that it is a business that generates business and delivers on its promises, mostly by relying on two levers.

The first lever– operational systems (not technology necessarily) to organise the activities in the business into predictable, repeatable and efficient actions that deliver the same result, consistently.

The second lever - employ good, motivated, system operators to run the business systems that you, the entrepreneur, have built. In understanding what the requirements of the SLA are (the benefit of an SLA is that it has measures in it), you can build your systems to deliver those outcomes.

When, as a corporate, embarking on an ESD programme and opening up your supply chain to SME suppliers, be sure to assess and evaluate this capability. A friendly, well-presented entrepreneur is simply not enough to meet an SLA. A business ought to be built to achieve this independently of that entrepreneur.

At Aurik, we have built over 1,500 SME suppliers into corporate supply chains. More than that, we have shifted over a billion Rands' worth of procurement spend, at SLA specifications, into ESD-compliant suppliers, helping our corporate clients to dig into the rich rewards of preferential procurement. Let us work with you, too, and turn your supply chain into a vibrant, resourceful and compliant, point-scoring supply chain to your company's competitive advantage.

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