5 Ways Shippers & Suppliers Can Maintain A Great Relationship

Author PhotoBlueGrace Logistics - August 3, 2021

Companies have the right to receive the best service and the best price from their suppliers, and the relationship between shippers and suppliers is a key component to a successful partnership. Here are five tips to build, maintain, and improve a healthy and productive relationship with your suppliers.

What This Blog Is About:

  • How to build a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust & credibility with your suppliers

  • The best way to establish fluid and useful communications channels with your suppliers

  • The importance of setting the tone of the relationship and being an example of what you expect

Communication and equality are the central axes of the process of transforming a supplier into a valuable business partner for the strategy, success, and growth of a company. Establishing a collaborative relationship, rather than one in which the buyer takes a dominant role, will help to strengthen positioning in the market.

Supply chain management is characterized by the fact that all interested parties collaborate towards a common strategy or to achieve a common objective.

5 Tips To Improve Supplier Management

To ensure a lasting relationship and at the same time maintain quality standards, it is essential to look for some critical points. Here are five tips to help you improve your relationship with your company’s suppliers.

1. Select Your Supplier Carefully

Usually, the selection should not depend on a single criterion. It is important to value the options based on variables such as:

  • Price

  • Quality

  • Payment conditions

  • Conditions of distribution, transport, and delivery

  • After-sales service

More intangible issues such as the reputation of a supplier or its financial situation can also be taken into consideration as well. Making decisions to benefit a company must be a process of analysis and planning.

2. Build A Relationship Based On Trust And Honest Communication

Meaningful communication beyond regular work contact is the beating heart of all highly functional supplier relationships. Taking time to organize regular meetings with all suppliers geared toward measuring the partnership’s progress will provide both parties with the opportunity to provide honest and valuable feedback. The groups can discuss what changes or improvements they think should be implemented and any problems that need to be fixed.

Companies should also strengthen communication between departments. This means, for example, putting the company’s quality manager in contact with the supplier’s quality manager. In this way, if problems arise, solutions will be expedited.

Finally, make it personal. We all spend more time emailing, texting, and on phone calls than we used to. That makes it all the more memorable if you can take the time to meet your supplier in person.

3. Set The Tone Of The Relationship, Be The Example

It can be attractive to expect everything from the supplier: low prices, prompt delivery, and timely communication. It is important to remember that it is a two-way street and if you want a great supplier, it is essential to set an example and incorporate all the features you want to see in it. Being punctual, organized, and ethical are great ways to present as both customer and supplier to feel confident.

As suppliers possess a wealth of industry knowledge and skills, this kind of relationship can produce crucial information that can be used to significant effect by a company that is willing to listen and work with its suppliers at a meaningful level.

Successful business alliances are built on mutual trust and communication, factors that nurture relationships and make them strong over time. Ultimately, try to be a business that businesses want to do business with.

4. Allocate Resources For Supplier Management, Use Technology To Your Advantage

According to a 2017 Global Supplier Relationship Management Research Report by State of Flux, people and their soft skills are the core of SRM, so whether you need a whole department to manage supplier relationships, a dedicated supplier relationship manager, or even if it’s only a part of someone’s role, having people in your organization who are responsible for the SRM process is essential.

Create a documented process that will help guide your team through the management and administration of suppliers. In a large organization, this can include flowcharts, SOPs, policy documents and agreements, or simply a 2 to 4-page paper that covers all of the points of agreement for you and the supplier.  Make sure that all the steps are followed and that documents are signed off when completed.

Investing in supplier management software to keep track of information about your suppliers can help to streamline the bureaucratic process. You can even further install advanced purchase order management software, which you can use to create, process, and track purchase orders with your suppliers.

5. Choose Suppliers That Align With Your Mission And Vision

All businesses are founded on a series of values defined as a vision (the “what”) and a mission (the “why” and “how”), and it is essential to be able to share these values not only internally (with your employees) but also externally (with your clients and suppliers).

Integration is the keyword for lasting results in any business, so don’t be afraid to open your doors to suppliers and explain the what, why, and how of your business.

If you can make your suppliers believe in your vision, the related risk factors are virtually eliminated. Get involved in partnerships with companies that share your values, your worldview, your way of doing business. This ensures a team of partners willing to help you grow and achieve your goals through high-quality work. Integration is the keyword for lasting results in any business, so don’t be afraid to open your doors to suppliers and explain the what, why, and how of your business.

The Core Values That Drive Us

At the heart of BlueGrace’s energized work environment, dramatic growth, and caring culture lies our carefully crafted set of five core values. They are the foundation of our success and will help drive our organization for years to come.

Learn More About Our Culture and Values

  1. Be Caring Of All Others
  2. Simplify
  3. Pursue Outrageous Goals
  4. Embrace Chaos
  5. Be Happy, Humble And Have Fun
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