When entrepreneurs first start in business, they go into it under the impression that their suppliers are like other services that they buy. The brand is the buyer, and the supplier is the seller. It’s a consumer-producer relationship.
But when you get into actual business practice, you realize that it’s not actually like that at all. Most suppliers don’t have to do business with you. And if you want to work with them, you have to slot your business into their processes. You have to find ways to ensure that they continue making money selling you.
This backdrop is the reason why many brands have poor relationships with their suppliers. They’re just not approaching them in the right way.
So what can you do? Let’s take a look.
Communicate More Clearly
Communication clarity is essential in supplier relationships. Both parties need to be absolutely clear what they expect from the other. If there is doubt, you’ll encounter problems.
Let’s say, for instance, that you’re ordering tactile switches for a circuit board going into your product. Improper communication could cause you to order the wrong part which, in turn, could generate problems with your products in the future.
Honor Your Contractual Obligations
Suppliers take contracts seriously. If you say you’re going to do something, you need to do it. That’s because suppliers have to adjust their production processes to accommodate your requirements. If you suddenly turn around and tell them that you’re not going to follow through, it puts them in a very difficult position indeed.
Going against contractual terms is not a good idea. Suppliers may sue you for damages or try to get compensation somehow. Instead, if you can, try to renegotiate. Suppliers are usually reasonable people who are willing to listen to alternative ideas.
Review Deliverables And Performance
Regularly reviewing your suppliers helps to promote accountability. It also ensures that they are meeting your needs in the way you expect.
Most suppliers will welcome auditing practices since it helps them improve their processes and isolate weak points. The better the service they provide, the better your relationship should become.
Make Your Business A Company That People Want To Work With
Turning your business into a company that suppliers want to work with can produce favorable results for your firm. If you have a good reputation, brands will often be willing to offer you discounts, just because they know that you’ll always pay them.
Building a reputation requires work within the industry itself. You need to prove to stakeholders that you’re a safe bet and that they can trust you with their businesses.
Take Advantage Of Technology
Lastly, you’ll want to look into whether technology could help support communication with your suppliers. For instance, you can now get software that provides vendors with service portals, allowing them to quote prices, submit invoices and provide contact information. When everything’s out in the open like this, everyone is on the same page. You can see who owes who what so there are no misunderstandings
Photo by Abbe Sublett