If your business relies on typical suppliers, such as manufacturers and various processors, you may spend less time strengthening your ties with them than you realize. After all, many businesses naturally focus on their clients and consumers, who form their customer base. However, keeping cordial with your suppliers is crucial, since they are the ones that are responsible for providing you with the resources that are essential for operating your company. That means having a volatile or non-existent bond with suppliers can significantly affect your organization’s bottom line.
1. Provide Comprehensive Forecasting
You can proactively strengthen your relationship with suppliers by providing them in-depth reports forecasting your business’s needs far in advance. This gives them ample time to meticulously plan in order to ensure on-time delivery of goods. They will appreciate your transparency, while you will gain from the reliability of having what you need at the time when it is necessary.
2. Label the Relationship Appropriately
It is always best to define your ongoing relationship with each of your suppliers early in your contract. For example, some suppliers are so critical to particular businesses that they are more or less a fully-recognized partner, while others are simply vendors that provide goods for numerous companies in a similar manner. Providing everyone with clarification fosters mutual cooperation, and that leads to the alignment of goals that are beneficial to all parties concerned.
3. Keep Abreast of the Suppliers’ Needs
Remember, each of your suppliers is also a business with unique and important needs of its own. Its preferences, timelines, and requirements deserve respect and should be adhered to, whether you are expected to follow particular protocols, or are required to file specific paperwork, or anything else in-between. Mastering suppliers’ processes will lead to smoother transactions and interactions over time.
4. Make Communication Clear and Constant
Like any other reciprocal relationship in life, consistent and transparent communication is certainly key. Keeping lines of communication open and honest will prevent an onslaught of misunderstandings as well as keep productivity flowing. It may even be best to schedule quick monthly meetings to address any issues, answer questions, and resolve ongoing conflicts.
5. Provide Timely and Constructive Feedback
Speaking of addressing issues, you should always pursue such matters in a punctual and non-judgmental manner. Never react in anger, or based on your first impulses. Remember, you will attract more flies with honey than vinegar. Maintain a cool head when starting a dialogue with suppliers and speak directly with them to find solutions to problems that you may have with their products and services. If you don’t take charge of a situation, you can’t expect things to change, so don’t delay.
6. Align with Suppliers with Similar Values
It is always best to work with other businesses that maintain beliefs that are akin to your own. You wouldn’t want to purchase anything from an organization that propagates practices that you don’t agree with, since you are indirectly supporting its platform. So, when it comes to key areas, such as warranties, sustainability, ethical practices, and customer service, it is best that your collaborator’s company is built on comparable values.
In conclusion, in order for your partnership to be healthy and long-lasting, both parties must work together to foster a mutually-beneficial collaboration. And, like all business and personal relationships that last, your commitment to your supplier should be symbiotic, mature, and respectful.