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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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