Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Depending upon the type of business you’re running, you will be interfacing with suppliers which are critical to your operations. You further want to protect and manage your supply chains at all costs. The following contributed post is entitled, Successfully Manage Your Suppliers With These Tips.
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When you are running a successful business, you need to have positive, reliable and loyal suppliers working with you to get the best out of your business. Successful supplier relationships aren’t always easy to build, and there is communication and trust required to make it work. You have to treat your suppliers with respect, whether they are supplying packaging, IT services or equipment, and you have to respect the contract that you sign.
As a business owner, you need to consider that you want to get the best for your business to run smoothly. Assessing the suppliers out there will get you started, and managing your current supplier relationships is just as important. If you are looking for help in managing those same relationships, we’ve got all of the tips that you need below.
1. Understand Cost & Value. The supply chain is one that needs to run as smoothly as possible for your business to work well. You need to understand every single cost that you are paying, how it affects the product or service that you deliver, and what value is provided to your customers. You need to know how your suppliers are offering you value, and a true partnership involves you both understanding the cost of the service and the value it provides at the same time.
2. Focus On What You Do For Your Supplier. Your printer and copier dealer is working for you to get you the best deal, provide you the best equipment and more. But what are you doing for your supplier? You have to realize that this relationship goes both ways and you have to be in charge of the way that you behave in this relationship. If someone is going out of their way to offer you an excellent deal, then you need to go out of your way to pay your bills on time and turn to your supplier when you need an upgrade.
3. Plan Efficiently. All businesses, including yours, have to plan properly with their suppliers. You have to accept accountability for your needs and order what you need in good time. Piling on the pressure on your supplier to deliver when you haven’t given them the correct time frames is not the way to go. If you need to push through emergency orders, you’re going to be managing your business in a sloppy way, which is not what you need. Lack of thinking on your part does not constitute an emergency for your supplier.
4. Establish Service Levels. It’s so important that you incorporate the right service levels into your relationship with your suppliers. You can’t just base a relationship on a handshake, so both parties need to talk about their expectations and agree on it all.
5. Agree Your Contracts. Before you sign anything with your suppliers, you would have agreed terms for all of you to stick to. You agree on your payment terms and you need to uphold those terms. Your suppliers will give you the best discounts and deals, but you should spend time ensuring that all sides of the contract are agreed in advance!
6. Communication Counts. If there is a problem with a supplier, you need to share that with them as early as possible. If there is any information that you need to share, you need to do so as early as possible so that they can fix the problem. If you contact your supplier to tell them something has broken down, do it the moment you know that there is a problem. By communicating a problem, you can also communicate the good things. This will keep your relationship steady and working well.
7. Keep Planning. You want to manage these relationships well, and that means planning for the exceptions and not always the rules. Emergencies happen and in complex supply chains, you need to let them know ahead of time how the emergencies will be handled. It’s up to you to analyze why they happen so that you can minimize the number of emergencies possible. Every single strategy with your supply chain takes planning, and you need to agree a solution for emergencies with your supplier. If a copier breaks down and you work in reprographics, it would help to know what you should do in those circumstances.
8. Expect Honesty. You can expect your supplier to be honest with you, so you should offer the same in return. Mutual respect is so important with your suppliers, so make this happen!
9. Make It Work. Your relationships with your suppliers have to be meaningful at all times. When you meet, make a grand gesture! When there are issues, talk about them. Make it work and offer respect!