The approach you use for your suppliers affects your business strategies irrespective of whether your business is product or service-oriented. Unlike large organizations that deal with thousands of suppliers, your small business would have only a handful to deal with. Yet, your business-supplier relationship poses some risks to your brand, operations, and even your customers if not managed appropriately.
So, how can you ensure that the relationship between your business and suppliers is adequately managed? Here are some of the best ways to manage your suppliers.
Your communication and collaboration skills are vital to managing a healthy relationship between your suppliers. By implementing effective communication skills, you can get information from your suppliers for smooth business transactions. It also means that issues concerning missed deadlines, insufficient supplies, and other matters associated with miscommunication are avoided, saving your business money and time. Effective communication also means being able to work with your suppliers amicably.
Keep Information Centralized
It is essential to have easy and centralized access to information when dealing with your suppliers. Suppose there’s a recall of a product due to an issue concerning safety. In that case, it is crucial to have a quick and thorough response without any administrative delays. However, the inaccessibility of this information may make it difficult for your suppliers to take swift action. Therefore, to avoid this problem, it is advisable that you design a straightforward and centralized way of ensuring such information is easily accessible to your business and your suppliers. You can do this by using a system to compile all supplier data in one place instead of sharing it across the business units. Or, you can use a platform where all your stakeholders can access this data for usage.
Review Contracts and Documents
Reviewing contracts is a vital management tool to ensure agreements reflect the intention and expectations of every party. More so, some contracts may contain hidden pitfalls that negatively shift risks to your business and limit your business’s financial benefits. To do this, you may need to review your existing suppliers to find out if you still need their services. It can be scope, financial, performance, or legal review. However, it is advisable to engage a law firm to get the most from your supplier deals for the latter.
Personalize Your Relationships
You can do this by paying a visit to your suppliers’ offices or include them in a few of your strategic meetings. You can likewise invite them to your office parties and picnics. It is now a digital world, and many people rely on email, phone calls, and texting to keep their relationships. However, make efforts to meet your suppliers in person. You don’t have to plan a week-long vacation when a lunch meeting can do a lot for your relationships. If you can, make the relationship more than staying ‘strictly business’.
The relationship between your business and its suppliers is vital as it affects the business’s daily operations. For this reason, you need to observe, manage and collaborate with your suppliers in a way that promotes your business’s growth and development.