The success of your business is reliant on many things. One of those is the relationships with suppliers. In this article, we’ll give you our five top tips on how to improve supplier relationships, enabling you to get the best deal and keep your business running smoothly.
Some of these may sound incredibly obvious, but you’re probably forgetting them in your day-to-day operations.
Pay Them on Time, Every Time
As a supplier, there’s nothing more frustrating and damaging to your business than clients not paying on time. It takes time, effort, and resources to chase payment, having a knock-on effect on overall productivity. Furthermore, it drastically impacts cash flow, sometimes making it difficult for suppliers to continue operating successfully.
Paying on time shows you have respect for their work and prioritize paying them. If you prioritize them, they’re more likely to prioritize you.
Be Honest & Address Issues Effectively
Even the most fruitful relationships with suppliers have bumps in the road. It’s how you go about addressing and overcoming these issues.
Open, honest, and frequent communication is the best way of resolving negative situations. Rather than moaning and complaining at every incident, why not work together and propose new ways of working?
Be firm but fair, and be clear with your expectations. If you’ve been thorough and detailed, outlining what you need from the supplier, you’re giving them everything you can to deliver as expected.
Have a Dedicated Supplier Relationship Manager
As a customer of any kind, there are very few things more frustrating than having to speak to numerous people about the same thing. This is the same for suppliers. If you assign a dedicated SRM (supplier relationship manager), there is accountability within your business. It helps to maintain a positive relationship, and the supplier has a point of contact to always communicate with.
Once again, this is great for consistent communication, allowing both the supplier and your business to enjoy a fruitful relationship.
Harness the Power of Technology
Unless something is drastically wrong, no one should be picking up a phone or sending an email chasing orders or discussing mistakes. Technology has the power to take this out of your hands, freeing all parties to concentrate on their work.
What’s more, sophisticated systems will allow integration between the platforms your supplier is using and your own, creating an automated solution. This allows both parties to be proactive rather than waiting for the other to react.
Work Together on New Opportunities
Another way of building relationships with suppliers is to share ideas and new opportunities. Introduce them to your network, propose ideas of how they could help non-competing clients, and help them expand their business.
In turn, they will either do the same for you or prioritize the level of work they produce for you.
How To Build Relationships With Suppliers: Summary
Relationships with suppliers are the same as any relationship. To be successful, you need open and honest communication, the tools to support one another, and an appreciation for each other’s work.
Show your supplier you prioritize the relationship with them and suggest ideas for improvement, and they’ll do the same.
For more top tips about supplier management, get in touch today.