Tips For Building Great Relationships With Your Suppliers

Suppliers are an element in your business that can be really important to the rest of the company’s day-to-day management. If there’s something off when it comes to your suppliers, then it can have an affect on the rest of the chain. With that being said, it’s important that you’re able to have strong relationships with your suppliers that are built to last and there’s a mutual understanding with both parties on what is required and expected. Here are some tips for building great relationships with your suppliers.

Start Off The Relationship In The Right Way

Every relationship in business needs to start off on the right footing and if you’re putting in enough effort from the beginning, then it’s likely to be a fruitful relationship, whatever it is that your supplier is providing. So with that being said, you want to establish that relationship properly. If you’ve not had a meeting yet in-person, then you’ll want to get that set up and if that’s not possible, then over a video conference call is the next best thing. However, if they’re in the same area or even country as you, then every effort should be made to meet them in person, especially for bigger suppliers.

There’s a lot of trust and respect that can be created from meeting in person and it can make it a more personable relationship by having met the person or persons you’ll be dealing with on a regular basis. This is also a great opportunity to get to know them and what they’re like to deal with as a person. Everyone has a different personality and individual way of working, so having your meeting in a relaxed environment like a cafe or perhaps over dinner can be very beneficial.

Communication Is Everything

Communication is very important when it comes to your suppliers and it’s good to keep up communications from your end, as well as ensuring it happens from theirs too. Poor communication can lead to lack of information, misinformation and that may result in delays or problems within deliveries arriving or products being sent that aren’t right or as discussed. There may also be times where you need to get in touch with them urgently and just reaching their out of office or voicemail without any other way of contacting them could prove problematic.

If there are any teething problems with communication, whether it’s a new relationship or an old one, try to iron them out as quickly as you can. Find ways to fix your communication issues so that it doesn’t impact your business any further than it already has or could do.

Review Your Partnerships Annually

Whether they’re providing energy management services or packaging supplies for your products, it’s always good to do a review of all supplier partnerships on an annual basis. Some may require you to do it more often but for the most part, an annual review will often suffice. This can be a great chance to catch up on the way the business relationship is going, what can be changed and improved and what works well. This is a chance to highlight how things are progressing and to voice any concerns. It’s always good to make sure that the supplier relationship and the agreement you have is still working for where your business has gotten to so far.

How you do it is up to you but this is worth doing in a formal manner, ideally in a space that’s relaxed but without too many distractions. That way you can get through everything each party needs to go through.

Be Respectful Of Different Work Cultures

Work cultures can vary from company to company. One business might work all hours of the day and not have much structure to their office hours, whereas others work short days and perhaps close up the office for certain days of the week. It’s important to be respectful of different work cultures but to also find those that work best for what you’re after. If you’re willing to go into partnership with a supplier, then you need to ensure that they align with what you require and that they are also respectful of your own work culture, whatever that may look like.

Don’t Be Afraid To Apply Pressure When Needed

Sometimes, we all need a little nudge to get ourselves moving when perhaps we’re taking too long or we’re lacking some motivation in parts. When it comes to your suppliers, it’s important to know when to apply pressure and when to let them be. Some suppliers may be busier than others and some may purposefully put you further down the priority list. However, when it comes to the success of your company, it’s worth having that relationship whereby you can pull them up on something if it’s not to your standard.

It tends to be the case that some businesses will be fearful of being too pushy in case they harm the relationship that they have with the supplier. However, your fear should not be to the detriment of your company’s success. With that being said, make sure you’re willing to put your foot down as and when it’s required.

Know When You’ve Outgrown Them

Not every supplier is someone that you’re going to stick around with forever. Sometimes, suppliers can outgrow you and vice versa. So with that in mind, have you outgrown any of your current suppliers? You may be holding onto one or two out of loyalty but if that loyalty is starting to damage your business or hold it back, then it’s time to move on. Knowing when you’ve outgrown a supplier is worth acknowledging and doing something about it. Don’t let it ruin your business or the potential you have.

Building great relationships with your suppliers can take time but it’s good to have the right ones from the start. Use these tips to ensure that you have the best working relationship with each and every supplier you use.

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