Supplier Management Practices: Tips to care for your suppliers and improve business relationships

Supplier Management Practices: Tips to care for your suppliers and improve business relationships

Understanding the importance of managing a good relationship with suppliers can add great value to a business. Building trust and confidence with your supplier creates an atmosphere for sharing knowledge and ideas. It gives room for identifying opportunities for business improvement. It also helps to strengthen the supply chain.

Practices that help you care for your suppliers

Here are some tips to help you take care of your supplier and build a better relationship.

•Maintaining constant and effective communication: It is a common saying that "Communication is key" in a relationship. This also applies to your business relationship. Communication creates a shared understanding. It allows both you and your supplier to know what to expect from your business relationship. Ensure your supplier is up to date on your plans, especially plans that can also affect their business. Communicate if there would be a delay in payment, a change in quantity demanded etc. This helps to keep things running smoothly.

• Inform them about other opportunities to help them grow: Finding smaller providers that are often overlooked can help your supplier's business. Also, find other programs that create an avenue for growth for your suppliers. You can introduce them to business financing to help them manage their cash flow. Sometimes you might even make some money as compensation while helping your supplier take care of liquidity.

•Identify and Manage Risk: Evaluate the risk that can come with dealing with a particular supplier. Ensure that you learn about your supplier's business from external sources. Check their social media, Ask for references, and determine the credibility of the business. Finding out the history of a company allows you to know how they operate and if you can work with them. Also, ensure that you create similar resources that would help your supplier know you. This allows you both to determine what you ultimately want from your business relationship. 

•Timely Payment: A delay in payment can cause problems between you and your supplier. Always ensure you keep to the payment terms agreed on by both parties. A missed payment is not good for the image of your business. It can lead to distrust and cash flow problems for the supplier. By always paying your invoice on time, you communicate the value you have for your suppliers and this can even lead to them considering you for favours and discounts. If for some reason, you can not meet the agreed term of payment, quickly let your supplier know. This shows that you are a reliable and dependable customer. 

•Leverage technology: Technology can bring a huge change to the total process of running a business. Sometimes manual processes can cause a delay or an interruption in the supply chain, late payments, and lost discounts. Make use of technology to better your relationship with your supplier. You can use technology to track your inventory to avoid misunderstanding, and you can send and receive invoices online to make the process faster and a little less error-prone. Going digital with processes helps to save time and can help build transparency between you and your supplier.

•Treat them like partners:See your supplier as your partner. Making your supplier feel like they are a part of your business can go a long way toward strengthening your relationship with them. This helps you put them into consideration in your dealings. 

•Share responsibility equally: When there is an issue or a dispute, laying accusations might be the natural thing to do. Instead, ensure that you blame all sides equally. Take responsibility for your role in the situation and let your supplier know where they went wrong too. Always ensure you look at both sides intentionally. Have a conversation and recognise where each party could have done better. This shows respect and solves the issue. It leads to a better relationship and creates an atmosphere for the smooth running of future processes.

Being considerate, fair and honest are also practices that can greatly affect your relationship with your supplier in a positive manner. It is important to remember all of these practices and put them to good use to ensure a better and more sustainable relationship with your supplier.

If you want to find out more about supplier relationship management: What it means, how it works, the benefits and so on. Read here

Also, to find more resources useful for your business, you can read more articles from our blog posts on Bridger

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