Categorised | Business & Finance

Supply Without Demand

No matter how you look it’s plain to see that developing decent relationships with your business suppliers matters. If you’re anything like most, the supply of materials is the first service you ever outsource in your business. It’s also the most important thing for keeping your business afloat. Forget marketing and your products themselves; it would all be worthless if no one supplied your materials in the first place.

How To Find Suppliers

That’s why, when you manage to find a decent supplier, it’s vital that you treat them like your best friend. While you are the customer in this instance, the power is in that supplier’s hands. They could cut you off as soon as you get too difficult, and that could see you going under.

Instead of making demands and acting out, you need to be whiter than white where your suppliers are concerned. They need to view you as a company which they trust and enjoy working with. Otherwise, you’ll soon start to notice rising costs, delivery delays, and other issues which you don’t need.

The question is, then, how do you keep your suppliers on side? You know how to impress clients, but this is a different matter altogether. Luckily, getting in a supplier’s good books isn’t as tricky as you might imagine. All you need to do is take care of the following simple considerations.

ALWAYS pay on time

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often companies fail to pay suppliers on time. Either that or they attempt to get better deals after agreeing on a price. Never make that mistake. This can be so irritating that it earns you an instant place in your supplier’s black book. Be clear, from the moment you place your order, how much you’ll pay, and when you’ll pay it by. Then, be 100% certain that you stick to those conditions. This is common courtesy, so you really shouldn’t need reminding. All you need to do is think about how you would feel if a client kept skipping payments. You wouldn’t want to do business with them again, would you? Nor will your supplier continue servicing you if you never pay when you say. Bear in mind, too, that always paying on time with no problems can get you in a supplier’s good books. That, in turn, could lead to deals and loyalty bonuses which you wouldn’t get otherwise. A good track record also means that, if you are ever experiencing cash flow issues, a supplier may be willing to work with credit. That’s not something they’ll consider if they can’t even trust you to pay on a good day.

Provide plenty of notice on orders

A decent supplier relationship also relies on the time you give them to get your orders ready. Remember that, while you only deal with one supplier, you’re probably one of many names on their books. As such, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect them to deliver products at a moment’s notice. Even if they could do it, it would mean extra workload and a black mark against your name. Leave orders until the last minute too often, and they might refuse you altogether. To make sure that it doesn’t happen, always place orders well in advance. Your best bet here would be to keep a regular order placed. That way, you provide ongoing custom, while ensuring that you never run out of products you need. If you don’t use enough stock to do that, pay attention to your inventory so that you can order when you’re running low. That provides a supplier with plenty of notice, meaning you’ll become a customer they can rely on, rather than a pain in their backside.

Make their lives as easy as you can

Along the same lines, you also want to go out of your way to make your supplier’s lives easy. That means placing orders on time as mentioned, and dealing with deliveries right. If a supplier has to wait outside for hours every time they deliver, they may soon decide your contract isn’t cost effective for them. Again, that would mean losing a company which you really can’t survive without. Make sure it doesn’t happen by putting every possible plan in place to make their deliveries to you easy. For one, take the time to invest in a roller garage door which opens electronically, saving delivery drivers from every having to wait outside. Make sure, too, that you always know when a delivery is arriving so you can have a team ready. And, whatever you do, don’t sit back and force your supplier to empty stock themselves. Use everything from forklifts to palettes to help them out a bit. That way, you can rest easy that they enjoy delivering to you and will keep working with you for a long time.

Treat them like part of your company

While supply is an outsourced service, it’s worth treating your suppliers as a part of your company. That’s because, unlike many outsourced options, this is an ongoing relationship. If you want to keep it stable at all times, then inclusion is the best thing for it. For one, inviting suppliers to company events and office parties can help secure positive relations. This ensures that suppliers feel like a part of the team, and are less likely to lose patience with you. From a business standpoint, it’s also worth sharing information with your suppliers. If you’re undergoing changes or product developments, for example, your supplier could help. They could suggest new supplies, or do you a better deal to help you manage shakeups like these. That can help them to feel invested in your company, and determined to serve you well at all times.

It isn’t difficult to be best friends with your supplier. When you think about it, most of these pointers are things that you should be doing already. If not, don’t hesitate to implement them today to see the benefits of a decent supply friendship.

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