Sending out questionnaires can be a laborious and lengthy process. The number of suppliers that an organization uses and the complexity of the data required has a significant bearing on how long it takes to assemble the database. Three primary approaches can be used to gather the required data:
- Traditional questionnaires are paper based. The supplier completes the questionnaire after reading any accompanying notes, and entering the data can be a lengthy process.
Questionnaires can be distributed electronically, in spreadsheet or simple text format, which can be printed or set up for electronic data entry (the latter method offering the advantage of reducing data entry to a single step). The disadvantage of the traditional questionnaire is that the sourcing organization has no control over what is entered: suppliers may enter misleading, inaccurate or incomplete data.
Online or Web-based questionnaires are increasingly popular. Data is entered only once, and the sourcing organization has the advantage of being able to exercise some control over responses, for example, by offering a menu of possible answers to each question. Furthermore, additional resources can be provided to the respondent online.
Supplier visits are the most time consuming, but often the most reliable method of data gathering. An interviewer visits the supplier and works through a series of questions. This option can be used when the organization has only a small number of suppliers and is constrained by the availability of resources. However, it can be combined with other techniques, such as for use with key suppliers.
Examples of a questionnaire can be found here.
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