Case study

Supplier collaboration led to 97% response rate in 4 hours

Front page news of a food contamination scandal broke in the UK press implicating a number of national retail brands and supermarket private label products. This leading national supermarket wanted to quickly understand its supply chain’s exposure, enabling it to take any necessary corrective actions.


At a glance

Thanks to an existing strategy of maintaining engagement with suppliers, proactive annual supplier ‘emergency fire drills’ and visual management dashboards to reinforce expectations and monitor corrective actions, 97% of suppliers responded within four hours of the supermarket reaching out to them.


Food & Drink

Materially important issue

2013 Horsemeat Scandal

Step of the process
Platform elements used
Supplier engagement Supply chain data collection
Number of suppliers



97% response rate in 4 hours



A year before the food contamination scandal, the supermarket had a more common, siloed approach to supplier communications and engagement. Each department held its own version of supplier contact details, few referencing the roles held by the contact within that particular supplier organisation.

No emergency contacts were identified, or formal expectations set with suppliers about how quickly they needed to respond in an emergency situation or what actions should be taken.


The supermarket identified Supply Pilot as its partner of choice to develop and deliver a strategy for successful supplier collaboration. This included using Supply Pilot’s platform to communicate relevant information on a frequent basis to build trust and establish expectations. Online engagement dashboards reinforced these expectations and monitored corrective actions. Supply Pilot also facilitated annual supplier emergency fire drills to test supplier agility and identify areas of improvement in the event of a food scare.

When the actual food contamination scandal broke, Supply Pilot worked with the supermarket to target specific suppliers with surveys to quickly map exposure and allow timely responses to media enquiries. Supply Pilot platform’s communications functionality provided real-time reporting of supplier interactions, enabling the supermarket to chase the small number of suppliers who were slow to respond.


This approach of prioritising successful supplier engagement meant that 97% of suppliers responded within four hours of first communication on the day the news broke.

By the 3rd and 4th follow-up communications, and only days after the news broke, over 99% of the surveys were completed.

Key facts

Engagement strategy

delivered and maintained

Engagement dashboards

to reinforce expectations and monitor corrective actions

Annual emergency fire drills

to test supplier agility and identify areas of improvement

97% response

with 4 hours

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