How do you build a long-lasting relationship with suppliers?
August 31, 2022 / Industry News
Suppliers are a fundamental part of your enterprise that you should not
overlook. Many businesses strive to maintain good relationships with customers,
however unfortunately forget their supplier relationships. However, good
relationships with suppliers have positive outcomes for smooth-sailing
production, timely delivery of quality materials, customer satisfaction, and
cost savings. Also, the benefit can be strategic by offering you business
intelligence and trade secrets.
Below are 6 tips for establishing great supplier relationships.
1. Choose suppliers that align with your values
The stakes are high when you choose a third party, more specifically a
supplier. It’s important to question your supplier’s mission, values, goals, and
company culture when assessing whether or not they could be a good fit. When a
company’s values align with yours, it’s typically a good indication that the
partnership works well. Differences in overall mission, values, goals, and
culture could potentially lead to conflict somewhere throughout the project.
2. Be a great customer
It is important to realize that as your company grows, you become a larger
part of your supplier’s revenue, and in doing so, the success of both companies
becomes intertwined. Maintaining a great supplier relationship is a two-way
street. While you want to make sure your supplier is offering a great price and
superb service when you purchase, say, household appliances, you also need to be
a good client.
Always pay your bills on time and try to give suppliers as much lead time as
possible on your orders. Unless there's a compelling, competitive reason not to,
share with them an honest projection of your needs and keep them abreast of any
significant changes in that estimation. When developing your lead times, it
helps to be knowledgeable about your suppliers' production methods and needs.
Treat your suppliers with respect and build rapport so they will be happy to
help you long term. Good supplier relationships can have a long-lasting impact
on your business.
3. Understand the needs of your supplier
Understanding the needs of your supplier will facilitate your cooperation.
Suppose you are in the household appliance industry, what’s important to your
manufacturer? Do they need you to follow a process or complete paperwork in a
certain way? It is quite essential for you to pay attention to all those
Respect their way of doing things and make it easy for them by following
their processes and timelines. Give them what they need, when they need it, for
example, insurance certificates, business information, or purchase order
Nurturing an effective business relationship requires communication. This
means that you should be in touch with your manufacturer regularly. If it is
possible, meet them in person at your office so that they can get a better feel
for your business. Share your goals with your manufacturer and ask how they can
help achieve those goals. A good e-commerce supplier will likely be able to
offer some sound business advice and suggestions.
The more you make an effort to work together, the more likely your
manufacturer will stick with you during challenging times. Make sure both sides
understand what their roles and responsibilities are — only then can you take a
relationship from a discussion and grow it into a long-term partnership. Respect
what each of you brings to the table and leverage those qualities to propel both
of your businesses to the next level of growth.
5. Timely feedback
Performance can’t be the best all the time and there is always room for
growth. Keep the good suppliers aware of what's going on in your company. Tell
them about changes in key personnel, new products, special promotions and so
Timely arrange a meeting with your suppliers to brainstorm partnerships.
During your discussion, see if you might be able to help one another. Perhaps
you could trade referrals or introduce one another to key players in
When an open dialogue exists about where and how to improve, and you can
mutually solve these problems together, trust forms in your supplier
relationship. To nurture that trust and loyalty, make your suppliers feel like
they are a part of your business rather than just a source of goods or
6. Find solutions to better manage your supplier relationships
Your company probably uses a wide range of technologies to improve your
efficiencies. You can also use technological solutions to better manage your
supplier relationships. For example, you may want to invest in cloud-based
rebate management software that allows you and your suppliers to share deal
information and collaborate. It’s an effective way to build transparency into
your supplier relationships as well as create an audit trail of activities to
help pre-empt any misunderstandings, and also significantly reduce your time and
administrative costs, making it a much smoother process and more accurate.
Developing a great relationship with your suppliers should be as important as
creating a good relationship with customers. It is not complicated to establish
a meaningful relationship with your supplier; just follow these tips and watch
your business grow.