Business owners have so many priorities that supplier relations can be easy to overlook. Having good relationships with your supplies and vendors one of the best-kept secrets to rapid growth. However, the world of supply chain management can be a scary one for most business owners. In this article, you will learn about how to build strong supplier relationships for your business.
Building a relationship with a national supplier is a daunting process. These giants in the industry look more for dollar signs than relationships. Turning to local suppliers allows you to establish a personal connection.
Do some research and identify vendors in your area who can supply what you need. Build rapport by telling new contacts that you sought them out because you want to support local businesses. As your business grows, your friendly neighborhood supplier will support you and your growth in turn.
When selecting suppliers, do your due diligence. Look at past customer reviews, pricing, and shipment times when screening candidates. Determine what you value most and who offers the best service based on your checklist.
Explain your quality and service expectations to potential suppliers. By making your reliability criteria clear, not only will you start strong with your chosen supplier, you’ll have ruled out less dependable options.
Buy in Bulk
If you can, start off on the right foot by buying big from your supplier. Of course, you shouldn’t go all in with a supplier you know nothing about. Doing your research in advance will lead you to the right supplier from which to buy in bulk.
If you can’t swing large orders yourself, consider group purchasing. Going in with other businesses allows you to make purchases large enough to earn discounts you couldn’t qualify for on your own.
Pay on Time
Nothing makes a supplier happier than timely payment. You become a reliable customer and one whom the supplier will look forward to doing business with.
If you receive shipments on a regular schedule, see whether you can set up autopay. This feature, when available, makes life a whole lot easier for both parties. Simply put shipments into your schedule and budget, and technology will take care of the rest.
Order in Advance
Let’s say autopay isn’t a possibility because your orders are not on a set schedule. The best way to accommodate your supplier is by placing orders well in advance. Pressuring the supplier into fulfilling an order you placed at the last minute is bad for the relationship and your business.
Preparing orders in advance requires careful planning on your part, but it also helps your operations run more smoothly. Perform regular materials audits and inventory checks, and notify your supplier of an order at least a week or two beforehand.
Build Personal Relationship
Put a face to the name of your business. Mask up and meet your supplier or vendor in person to introduce yourself and iron out the details of your partnership together. This will personalize your connection and make it stronger right out the gate. Also, stop in at your supplier’s office every now and then (when they are back in the office), or schedule a call. The more you can touch base, the stronger your relationship with your supplier will be.
Turn Your Suppliers Into Customers
Depending on the nature of your business, you could become your supplier’s supplier. Turn your supplier into a customer by giving them a discount on whatever it is you sell. This allows you to grow your customer base and at the same time strengthen the relationship with your supplier.
Keep Them in the Loop
As your business grows, keep your supplier informed. Let them know the adjustments you will be making to future orders so they can accommodate them without undue pressure. As you keep your supplier apprised of your business plans, they may even come up with cost- or time-saving suggestions.
Refer Other Businesses To Your Supplier
Are you happy with your current supplier? Refer them to other companies. Whether these are other businesses or business contacts you have made through your entrepreneurial journey, your supplier will be grateful for the business.
By referring your supplier to others, you are saying thank you for their exceptional service. This gesture is sure to strengthen your relationship. Who knows? They may send some referrals your direction as well.
Many businesses branch out to different suppliers for different material needs. If you can manage the logistics, this could help lower your overall costs. To maintain strong relationships with your suppliers, however, stay committed to only a few.
When you play the field, you trade long-term benefits for short-term savings. You may cut initial costs by spreading your spend over several vendors, but strong relationships provide greater benefits that develop over time. A long-term supplier is more likely to respond quickly to an emergency order or give you extra time to pay an invoice should a cash crunch arise.
Strong supplier relationships will make your startup’s life that much easier. Explore your options and identify suppliers of choice early on. As your company grows, so will your professional bond.
If you like this article on how to build strong supplier relationships, share it with your friends and family. Also, subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss any update from us. Finally, don’t forget to join our community to connect with others. Lastly, you can also follow us on our social media pages – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.