Suppliers make up an important part of any organization’s procurement strategies and methodologies and every procurement professional wishes for the best relationships with them. They are, after all, important stakeholders in the business, and organizations have to do what they can to ensure that their relationships with customers are always good. These good relationships might pave the way for good prices, accelerated delivery cycles, and favorable terms.
So, how does one build and enhance supplier relationships?
Bringing them on board – Firstly, suppliers have to be treated not as an exogenous entity but as an integral part of the organization. Ensure that they are made to understand the part they play in the organization’s business operations. Train them if necessary.
Seek advice/suggestions – When someone works closely with you over a period of time, they understand your business and the strategies you use to run your business. Instead of telling the suppliers what to do, lay down your case in front of them and seek improvements from them.
Coordination – Constant coordination with suppliers is very essential. Without this, you will be in the dark a lot of times. Be it about the pricing and quantity details or the status of an order or delivery, coordination with suppliers ensures that you are on top of the game at all times.
Work together on improvements – For many organizations, procurement is a function that has a lot of waste and one that has to be improved constantly. Instead of going it alone, work with your suppliers on improving the procurement process together. You will have the added benefit of their expertise.
Use a single interface – Suppliers and organizations use different tools and resources to manage their business operations. Because of this, data transferability and communication suffers. Deploy an online procurement software solution and start interacting with your suppliers through the system. That way, all the information you need will be in one place and communication becomes easier and convenient.