Developing relationships with suppliers
Once you have chosen your suppliers, it is important to develop a productive and professional relationship. The following tips will help you maintain positive relationships with your suppliers:
- Talk regularly and honestly with your suppliers. Good business-to-business relationships rely on strong, two-way communication. Where possible, you should look to make face-to-face contact with suppliers or their representatives.
- Where viable, set up standardised ordering processes that both parties can easily understand and follow.
- Bring any problems or concerns immediately to your supplier's attention.
- Pay your accounts on time. If you cannot make your payments in time, make sure you let your supplier know before the due date.
- Avoid making unrealistic demands for products or services. Constantly changing or rushing orders will frustrate your suppliers. If this is the nature of your business, make sure you are clear from the outset.
- Return defective goods promptly.
- Monitor and review your supplier's performance and measure it against their competitors. Be prepared to negotiate the terms of trade from time to time.
- Be sure to carefully examine the reasons for problems before cutting ties with a supplier. Introducing new products, changes in freight and updating ordering process can cause temporary disruptions. Like everyone else, suppliers will have ups and downs in their business. Loyalty may earn you understanding during your own tough times.
Developing a good relationship with your suppliers is essential for good stock control.
Disputes with suppliers
Sometimes a dispute will occur, and it is best to deal with it promptly. Try to speak with your key contact first to resolve any issues. If communication with your contact at the supplier has failed, address your concerns with their head office or seek advice from your solicitor or business adviser. Remember, you may need to continue to work with this supplier, so resolving the issue swiftly and respectfully will support a positive future relationship
- Find out more about managing risk in supply chains.