Most businesses, at some level, depend on suppliers in order to deliver their products or services. Because suppliers can impact the quality, reliability and credibility of your company, building a strong relationship with your supplier is critical to your business’s success. Following are some pointers on how to build or improve this essential relationship:
- Make sure you understand how your suppliers operate. Don’t hesitate to make a visit to their facilities.
- Discuss your suppliers’ short-, medium- and long-term strategic plans. Your plans for expansion can be greatly impacted by the availability, pricing and relationship with your suppliers.
-Form the type of relationship with your suppliers that you would want with your own clients: pay on time, be clear in your orders and communicate any order changes promptly.
- Make sure you establish a strong relationship with the person who will manage your account. This person has the most direct influence on your relationship with the supplier.
- Consider the possibility of entering into a service agreement with your supplier; this level of exclusivity will show your loyalty and may push the supplier to give you a better deal if they view the relationship as a long-term partnership.
- Keep an eye on your suppliers’ competition so if they offer a better deal, you can go back to your supplier and renegotiate the terms of your agreement.
Remember a strong relationship with your supplier is essential. Keep the communication channels open so you always have the ability to improve it.
Tips for Improving Supplier Relationships
- Written by Beth Holbrook, Director of the Zions Business Resource Center