Building a good relationship with your suppliers is key, although you’re their customer it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street. We’ve put together 4 ways to maintain supplier relationships.
1. Understand your supplier’s process
Each supplier will have a different way of doing things, whatever the process is it’s important that you respect it. Some might prefer sending an invoice later and others might want you to pay when you collect. Stay on top of supplying things such as business information or purchase order numbers when they ask for them. You know it’s not ideal when your clients don’t abide by your processes or payment terms, so make sure you’re not that client for your suppliers.
2. Give feedback
Mistakes or miscommunications can occur despite the very best preparation. It’s important to tackle them with your supplier quickly and in a professional manner. Don’t ring up and yell if something goes wrong, be calm and direct and let them be a part of a solution.
3. Communication is key
If you want to maintain a great supplier relationship, communication is key. If you’re struggling to follow their process or they don’t allow much flexibility, let them know. Reflect on what’s working well and what needs room for improvement. Invite them out for a coffee or get them around for a beer so you can build rapport. This will make it easier for both parties to communicate.
4. Reward good service with loyalty
If you’ve been with a supplier for years and suddenly cut and run for someone cheaper, it’s not a good look and you could burn bridges that you’ll need later on. If you’ve got a good relationship, you can always have the conversation and see if there are any loyalty discounts they can offer.