Business Planning Process Planning & Strategy

4 of the Best Ways to Work with Supply Chain Vendors

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Running a business requires astute knowledge of the best suppliers. Sometimes you choose a supplier because of a certain ethical standpoint, such as being more environmentally-friendly or they are able to be competitive with their costs. If you are just starting out, finding the best suppliers can be a considerable learning curve.

But when you’ve found the right partner, you have to monitor the relationship. After all, the supply chain is an essential component that keeps us up and running.  But what do you need to do so that your business retains a healthy relationship with your suppliers?

Set Your Expectations and Communicate Them

When you operate within a certain industry, there are specific benchmarks that you have to set. The same goes for the supplier themselves, they will want you to operate in a certain manner. When you are working with industrial equipment or with a company like, they will have a very different set of goals than a company that works within digital marketing.

When you set expectations and communicate them clearly, it’s far better for everyone. You shouldn’t expect suppliers to read your minds or have an understanding of the business. It’s your job to convey what you expect. If a supplier doesn’t meet expectations, despite you clearly identifying them, only then should you decide to move on.

Document Everything

One of the biggest problems in working with suppliers is that they are so far removed that you only have any formal conversations over the telephone. This means that they may promise you a lot, and then not deliver. You should document everything because it isn’t just good practice, but it gives you solid evidence if someone reneges on their word. Having an outline of what you expect from supplier (and they from you) will require adequate documentation. Take the initiative and don’t rely on the supplier to write the agreement.

Show Them Forecasting

When starting a relationship with a new supplier, it can help you to share a forecast of the anticipated volume. This gives them adequate time to prepare for their workload. There are different ways to forecast finances. On there are methods for you to appropriate into  business. By sharing data, it gives suppliers a better opportunity to meet your business needs. One of the biggest problems in working with any supplier is drawn-out lead times. Instead, make sure that you share a quarterly forecast but be realistic in estimates. It helps to show historical data, such as the same time period from 12 months ago.

Don’t Be Afraid to Diversify

When you work with a supplier you are relying on them to keep business supported. If you can have a beneficial relationship with one supplier, it can help your company in many ways. But it might be worthwhile to spread your efforts out. Sometimes it makes most sense to work with different suppliers so that if one stops delivering the level of service you need, you can simply send more of your business elsewhere and discontinue that relationship all together.

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