4 Tips to Ensure a Successful Supplier Relationship

interview icon 23When evaluating the market, you want to identify and target suppliers who fit your organization’s needs best. Think of it as if you’re interviewing a candidate for a new position at your company. It’s a two-way street – you want to impress the candidate as much as they are trying to impress you. Most importantly, make sure the relationship is the right fit for both parties before entering into a partnership.

Consider these 4 tips when choosing your next supplier to ensure a long term relationship that works.

1-Ensure they’re the right fit for the company’s culture.

Suppliers can enrich or be a detriment to your company culture after entering into a relationship. You’re looking for a partnership – someone you can trust. Just as in a personal relationship, you wouldn’t propose marriage to someone within moments of meeting. Take time to know the supplier and consider these questions to help uncover red flags as well as highlight a great fit:

  • How do they conduct business?
  • What are the organization’s core values and vision?
  • Where do they see themselves two years from now?
  • What are their goals and ambitions- and do they align with yours?

2-Educate upfront.

When interviewing a candidate for a new position, you give them a description of both the job and the company so they know and understand expectations. This helps the candidate make sure they’re the right fit for the job, and it helps them convey to you that they fit better than anyone else.

The same is true for soliciting the right supplier; they need to understand your expectations and needs to determine if they’re even the right fit for you. And if they are, they need to be given the right forum to convey that message to you.

3-Communicate throughout the process.

Keep your suppliers informed throughout the process so you don’t lose the interest of worthy candidates. When you go too long without communicating next steps and timelines, job candidates may assume the worst and start looking elsewhere. Highly successful suppliers group leads into categories, and you may find yourself in the “cold lead” bucket, which gets far less attention than leads the supplier feels are more likely to close as a real deal.

4-Don’t rush the decision.

Most importantly, don’t rush the decision to put a key supplier in place because you’re crunched for time. As with a new employee, you’re likely stuck with that supplier for a significant amount of time, and it’s costly to implement a new supplier as well as change suppliers later. Taking the time upfront to vet your decision the right way will pay down the road.

Remember to educate your suppliers, communicate with them throughout the process, and evaluate the fit with your company as if you were hiring someone to work alongside you. Treat the relationship as an important part of your organization in order to maximize the return on your investment.

What additional ways are you evaluating suppliers? Share your tips by commenting below or tweeting @iasta.

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