What solutions to strengthen your relationships with suppliers?

There are many reasons why it is important to maintain a great relationship with your suppliers. Chief among them is the fact that it makes the day-to-day work more enjoyable for everyone. A good relationship can also help you get a better deal. But every supplier is different, and developing a strong relationship can be tricky.

Creating transparency through technology

Trust is essential for a constructive buyer-supplier relationship. The best way to build trust is through transparency. By using a fully integrated procurement system, purchasing can access the real-time information they would typically require from their supplier.

It also saves time, as buyers no longer have to try to contact a supplier by phone or email. By simply logging into a product experience management platform, they can get what they need on the spot. The technology also simplifies basic tasks like ordering more supplies and renewing contracts.

Promote clear and consistent communication

Just as in private life, clear and consistent communication is fundamental in business relationships. To build effective, long-term relationships with suppliers, companies need to focus on an equal partnership.

Putting the right tools in place for internal and external teams to quickly share documents and other information will help facilitate a more transparent and balanced conversation.

Aggressive negotiation tactics will likely undermine trust and turn the relationship into a combative and resentful one. It is helpful to view the supplier as an extension of the internal organization.

Understand your suppliers' position

Working with a supplier will be more effective if you show understanding. That way, you can overcome challenges and develop a stronger relationship. With this in mind, try to identify your suppliers' business positions. Find out who their investors are and whether they are publicly traded. Also, find out about their missions, goals and operations.

With this understanding, you can better align your business with theirs and grow together. Suppliers don't just work with your company. So, give them the benefit of the doubt if your needs are not instantly met at all times. This type of mutual understanding will create a natural relationship and motivate suppliers to work with you on a long-term basis.

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