Nearly every business that you can imagine involves dealing with suppliers in one way or another. And if you run a company, it makes sense that you want your supplier relationships to be as strong as possible. After all, this is in both of your interests. But far too many supplier relationships break down when they don’t need to. Here is a bit of advice which is designed to help you improve supplier relationships and create partnerships which stand the test of time.
Decide on Communication Channels
Like any good relationship, communication should be at the very heart of it. And you should aim to decide on your communication channels as early as possible. Are you communicating through a single point of contact? What is the preferred method of interaction? Do you have regular review meetings scheduled? A breakdown in communication is one of the main reasons behind a business/supplier relationship bust-up. If you are not happy, it is time to get talking.
Establish Your Terms Clearly
You have certain expectations of your suppliers, just as they have certain expectations of you as well. Say you are ordering a Gas Oil Fuelbox. You will want to know the delivery date and time, what is included, who to contact if you have any problems etc. When you are establishing these terms, it is a good idea to get them down in writing. This way, you have a clear document which you can refer back to should anything go wrong at any point down the line (which is more than likely at one point or another)
Try to Avoid Instant Blame
When something does go wrong, there is a temptation to apportion blame straight away. But if you instantly go to your supplier to yell at them, this could lead to an immediate breakdown of trust. Instead, you should give them the opportunity to explain themselves to see if there is a reasonable excuse. You then may be able to work together to establish a way that stops something like this from occurring in the future. Of course, you have your limits and you may need to reassess if the same issues keep cropping up over and over again.
Use Technology to Establish Transparency
Technology has a host of benefits in the business world, and one of the main ones is establishing a sense of transparency in your supplier relationships. You can digitise key processes to take away the chance for human error. You can stay in more regular contact with instant chat and video conferencing facilities. Ultimately, this means that location is no longer such a major issue when it comes to your suppliers.
Keep your supplier relationships strong and this will contribute greatly towards various parts of your business running a lot more smoothly.