An uninterrupted supply chain is a way to success, but keeping your suppliers happy is a whole art to learn.
This article will discuss maintaining good relationships with suppliers and creating a healthy business ecosystem for your brand to grow.
Why Value Your Suppliers?
Basically, a supply chain is a two-way street where you benefit mutually. So why bother with making your suppliers happy?
Here are several reasons:
- A loyal supplier turns into a business partner whom you approach for advice, referral, or networking opportunities.
- By keeping your supplier close, you make sure your business is their top priority. According to Forbes, swings in supply and demand have been one of the main economic challenges in recent years. They happened when consumers showed massive interest in new products as a part of a trend and ditched them quickly. By having a loyal supplier, you sell your buns hot until your audience hasn’t curbed their hunger elsewhere.
- If your supplier grows, you can grow with them by expanding your product range and offer.
Despite obvious benefits, keeping healthy supplier-customer relations is a complex task that requires training.
How Do We Build Strong Relations With Suppliers?
Zappos, the company whose name has become the equivalent of luxurious customer services, has valuable lessons about building a solid supply chain.
Their main advice is: “Select one strategic logistics partner and build a long-term, close relationship.”
Read it in other wording: build a 100% reliable resort to back your business even in the hardest times. Here are several tips to curate you:
1. You Have A Vision. Select Suppliers That Have A Similar One
Remember a scene from “Atlas Shruged” when Dagny Taggart selects Hank Rearden as her supplier?
Their mutual values lay within providing the best quality of services no matter what, even if that meant taking night shifts alongside regular workers.
The core value set may be different. Zappos selected a provider that accepts scalable prices and flexible returns to serve good shoes to people from all strata of society.
The Swiss shop of organic foods Farmy selects suppliers who honestly produce only biological food.
The main thing is that your supplier understands and supports you so that your demands get approached without extra interrogations.
2. Avoid Gaps In Communication
Poor communication is a killer of any successful relationship. Business included. Be sure to address all your supplier’s messages, even if you are unavailable.
It is equally important to report any early threat of possible issues.
Yet, reading about fluid communication in a blog post is not the same as practicing it in real time.
To establish that level of relations with your supplier that allows you to ping them any time for any reason, keep in touch with them informally, too.
3. Remember That You Are A Customer. Be A Great One
Consider what annoys you in your relations with your customers, and try to avoid that in your relations with your suppliers.
Try to carefully predict your inventory needs to avoid unnecessary returns and inform beforehand about load peaks so that they can prepare and be nice. Good manners always need to be updated.
4. You Are Also A Partner. Don’t Be Late To Step In As Needed
Be prepared to assist your supplier in any issue, even if that’s not your area of responsibility.
Whether selecting the best delivery routes, repairing trucks, or deciding how to create a delivery app to improve logistics, step in if you can help solve an issue faster.
If you help your partner solve a bottleneck in their part of responsibilities, you’ll have a double benefit: an invaluable deposit in a loyalty bank and uninterrupted operations recovered.
5. Be loyal
In the business community, many words about brands’ loyalty to their customers are aired. But what does customer loyalty look like?
Remember to thank your supplier for good services, and better do it publicly. It is a great practice to be proactive with an offer of a referral, reference, positive reviews, and high ratings.
Be ready to show your loyalty even when you are not asked for it.
Building an interrupted supply chain is a merge of technological, organizational, and relations-building skills, in which being a grateful customer and a loyal partner is as essential as being a professional.
Only some people can build a strong supplier network at once. But, like with any art, success can be achieved with time and effort.