Whatever kind of business you’re running, you’ll have suppliers who you depend on. Like any relationship between your business and another, you’ll need to make sure it’s well organised and managed. With a good supplier relationship, you’ll be able to get more favourable prices and trade agreements, and a range of other benefits. If you want good supplier relations, here are some simple rules to follow.
First of all, pay on time and as expected. This might sound obvious, but a lot of business owners still manage to neglect it. This is especially true if you buy straight from source. Manufacturers and wholesalers generally have to work with thin profit margins. Because of this, a consistent cash flow is one of the most important factors to their business. Any customer business, whether they’re buying food produce or bed linen for hotels, can do a lot for their image by being consistent with payments. When you pay on time, your brand will be more trusted, and become a highly respected customer in the eyes of your supplier. This will have a significant positive impact on all your future dealings.
Another important tip is to be sensitive to what your supplier needs from you. Corporate suppliers have several different customers to cater for. With a high number of customers, there comes a high number of relationships to maintain. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to find out what your supplier needs from you as a customer. Documentation is a big one. Your supplier might want an invoice signed and faxed by you after every order. Others might have a cloud-based spreadsheet they use for confirmation. Sticking to their rules is a cornerstone to a positive supplier relationship. Ensure you stick to all your supplier’s preferences. You’ll be able to speed up the order process, and create a better sense of trust between your two firms.
Finally, if you have a few different suppliers, consider cutting the number down. I know it’s a hassle to drop relationships and start new ones. However, if you have too many vendors, you could only be hurting your own business. Having too many vendors will lead to higher costs, less efficient trade, and will generally limit the potential of your firm. If you buy from several suppliers, then it may be time to do a reappraisal. Start off by looking at how all your vendors perform. If any of them have a pattern of late or unreliable deliveries, these are the ones you should kick to the curb. Poor communication should be another red flag to consider. Even if all your suppliers have good performance records, you could still benefit from reducing the number of them. Set some time aside to look at your other options, and find the simplest, most efficient arrangement possible.
Take this advice, and your supplier relationships will improve dramatically. No matter what business you’re running, your supplier relationships can be improved in some way. Find out what that is, and don’t waste any time acting on it!