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January 28, 2020 Article 2 min read
Your OEM relationships have a direct influence on orders, top-line revenue growth, costs of doing business, and your ultimate return on investment. Ever wish you could share candid feedback with your customers? You can. Here’s how.
Engine components
According to playwright George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” When you think about your business’s OEM relationships, does Shaw’s observation strike a chord?

Participating in our North American OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index® (WRI®) study helps lessen that illusion and can significantly improve interactions among you, your customer, and your respective internal functional groups. Participation in the WRI® survey directly influences top-line revenue growth, the cost of doing business with specific customers, and your ultimate return on investment.

Participating in a WRI® study allows you to contribute your feedback — good and bad — anonymously to your customers. Most OEMs within the North American automotive industry participate in the study and are eager to receive detailed results on their performance. The response rate is high: 2019 participation drew in over 600 suppliers representing nearly 50 percent of participating OEMs’ buy. This enables an accurate representation of an OEM’s supply base, right down to detailed analyses of purchasing groups within each OEM.

The high-response rate also means that results — good and bad — can’t be refuted as a “one-off” or unique to a particular company or buyer/salesperson relationship. Contributing to a WRI® study assures the data is robust enough to be taken seriously by OEM leadership and the industry overall.

The Plante Moran WRI® is based on three principles:

  • Time-tested and academically rigorous questions to quantify individual and corporate qualitative factors, creating a fact-based, data-rich index
  • Anonymous responses to allow honest evaluation while respecting commercial and individual relationships
  • Consistency and relevancy to allow year-to-year benchmarking as well as adapting to new product and geographic markets over time

With these principles at its core, the WRI® survey allows you to provide honest feedback, without fear of retribution, on your buyers’ knowledge base, communication effectiveness, trust, responsiveness, and integrity. Participating in a WRI® study also offers opportunities to provide input on customer actions implemented by purchasing groups, which may have been driven by other business functions, such as contractual terms and conditions, payment timeliness, and warranty and other chargeback systems. Sharing your feedback through the WRI® study helps your customers’ purchasing groups effect change within their own companies.

OEMs use WRI® data to:

  • Set annual performance objectives at organizational and individual levels
  • Track year-over-year improvements in critical purchasing performance metrics
  • Establish supplier council and workstream efforts

Suppliers use WRI® data to:

  • Benchmark their working relations experiences against industry norms
  • Support decisions to redirect human and financial resources
  • Create workstreams to address shortcomings and leverage strengths

The online survey tool is designed to be as convenient as possible and, while the time commitment isn’t inconsequential, you don’t have to complete the survey in one sitting. You can save, stop, and resume your survey without losing any of your data. And it’s not necessary to have all the answers — you can consult with colleagues in your area and throughout your company.

For additional information and to discuss how you can participate in our North American OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index® Study, please contact Dani Douglas at or 248-223-3624

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