Make the most out of your relationship with your suppliers
In business a reliable supply chain is critical which makes Supplier Relationship Management very important, you need to get the best from your suppliers. They are not just companies you hire to get the supplies your company needs, your suppliers are vital links to being able to serve your customers and achieving your business goals. You and your suppliers working together and can be beneficial to both your businesses.
Supplier Relationship Management
Think of your suppliers as partners in your business, not some company you hired and boss around, and work together in making your business and theirs grow. Try to understand their needs and help them achieve their goals and they will better able to help you achieve yours.
Understanding your suppliers business
Do some research and look at the manufacturing process behind the products you are purchasing. Determining the material and labor costs that go in to getting these products to the supplier can help you know what the suppliers costs are. Getting to know what is behind their costs can help you negotiate the best prices. This knowledge can also show the supplier that you understand what they are doing to be able to service your account and that you can work with them.
Put everything in writing
Write everything down, this will help all parties remember the details of the agreements and give you all something to referrer to when questions arise. Hand shake deals are fine for simple agreements but in business things can go from simple to complex quickly. Having a document of what was agreed on can help you and your suppliers when things pop up.
Communication is very important, you and your suppliers need to give as much information as you can about your business needs to help you understand each others needs. If your business will need more of certain supplies one week then at other times sharing this information will allow your suppliers to have additional levels on hand for those times and reduced stock for slower periods. This will insure they have the supplies when you need them and help them to manage their budgets.
Schedule regular meetings with a representative from each of your suppliers to allow both sides to exchange information about their needs and concerns and to work out solutions.
Business needs are always changing, new customers or unexpected slumps in orders can require changes in your supply needs. You need to communicate these changes to your suppliers as soon as possible to allow them to make the needed changes to avoid extra expenses for both of you.
There may be times when your regular supplier can not meet your order needs, keeping an open dialog with your suppliers can let them inform you of this before it causes you any issues.
Have a backup
There may be times where your demand for supplies is higher then your supplier has available, or for some reason your supplier can not send your full order. You can prepare for these times by keeping a backup supplier list on hand. These suppliers can be used to supplement the supplies you get from your regular supplier.
This will ensure you have the supplies you need ready and the supplier can reduce stock and their costs when you need less of an item. Keep your suppliers up to date if there are unexpected times where you will need adjustments to your delivery let your suppliers know as soon as possible to avoid delays.