In order for any business to run a smooth and successful operation, it is essential that they know how to work with suppliers. This is a crucial part of the business, and it will have a direct impact on the company, yet it is also an area that many business owners struggle with which could be holding them back.
So, what are the best practices for working with suppliers and streamlining the supply chain? Read on for a guide on how to find suitable vendors for your particular operation and what you can do to forge a profitable and lasting relationship.
What Makes A Good Supplier?
In order to have a successful relationship with your supplier, no matter where you fall in the supply chain, it is vital that you understand what makes a good vendor and there are a few aspects to consider:
Cost: Cost is obviously very important because you will want affordable yet fair prices for the products that you are sourcing.
Reliability: In order for your operation to stay afloat and for the supply chain to operate smoothly it is key that you can rely on your supplier. This means that shipments will always be accurate and made on time and any issues will be dealt with as soon as possible. Often, you will find that it is a supplier with experience that will be the most reliable and always look into reviews from other customers.
Location: Suppliers that are close to you will ensure that shipments can be made quickly while reducing freight charges (and your carbon footprint).
To find the right suppliers for your business, you should draw up a service level agreement (SLA) which outlines what your specific requirements are and then meet with suitable vendors in the area. The fewer vendors that you have, the better as this will reduce costs and make relationships much easier to manage.
Leading on from this, vendor relationships need to be managed to keep both parties happy. This should be done with regular contact and occasional face-to-face meetings, but there is also technology that can be utilized to easily manage relationships and improve communication. Supplier Portals from companies such as omniaecommerce.com, for example, can help businesses manage their key suppliers of any product or materials, by enabling communication in real time. This is done via an online platform that streamlines important supply chain processes.
Similarly, both businesses should keep the other informed on any important developments and work together to find ways to reduce overall costs and find other products/services that they could provide. Bills should always be paid on time, and any issues should be worked out together. If the relationship becomes problematic, then it may be best to take your business elsewhere.
Working with suppliers is a key part of the business operation, yet it is also an area that many business owners struggle with. The key to success is to take the time to find the right vendors for your particular business, to outline what your exact needs are and then to work closely alongside one another to optimize the supply chain process and make the relationship beneficial for both parties.