Today’s post is by Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing
By nurturing good vendor relations may lead to positive pricing, generous terms, improved availability, and even the occasional buyback. With these kinds of opportunities at stake, it can be very important to nurture relationships with key manufacturers and distributors.
7 Tips for Good Supplier Relationships
- Pay on Time : This is an obvious one, pay on time as you promised. So many companies work on thin margins, so their cash flow is as important as their business. This is even more critical for smaller companies. By paying on time as promised every time gains them trust and respect by the customer. Some companies track vendor payment history through vendor management software and have the ability to create a scorecard, which can lead to additional credit or discounts.
- Set Clear and Reachable Goals: Some vendors will want to have estimates of how many products a buyer expects to sell in a given period so that those sellers may in turn provide feedback to producers or, in the case of distributors, better understand how many line items they should order themselves.
- Know that they have other Customers: Small and medium sized companies have a lot of competitors, and sellers that may be serving both your business and nearest competition.To improve the vendor relationship, be patient. Understand that from time-to-time your vendor will be occupied.
- Educate yourself on what they need: Since vendors do have many customers and a number of relationships to maintain, it can be helpful to educate yourself on what they desire from you.
- Don’t Blame Them: There are going to be issues with suppliers and vendors. Blaming the representative on the end of the telephone or complaining via email will not help solve the problem.
- Nurture a Friendship: There are 2 good reasons to try and make friends with a vendor. The first, we would rather do business with people we like. This can eliminate formalities and cut to the chase (savings). Also, people are more likely to do more for a friend than someone they just met. Developed relationships can provide access to products with low availability or even earn better prices.
- Get them to Buy into the Process: Once you have a reputation of paying on time, providing orders in the proper format, and being nice with the vendor’s representatives, you can start to train the vendor on exactly what your client needs.