As a company, you have 3 distinct groups you need to constantly keep happy: your customers, your employees, and often forgotten, your suppliers! Get any 3 of these wrong and it could spell doom for your business, but while the internet abounds with why and how to keep your customers and employees happy, there isn’t much help out there for those wanting to keep a smile on their suppliers faces.
Here, we’ve put together a bit of guidance for you! Firstly, how you can keep them happy:
- Keep in touch with them, keep up communication to not only be aware of issues as they arise, but also to keep you in their mind as much as possible.
- Pay them promptly, while no one likes to move money out of their accounts, keeping prompt with your payments means they don’t need to chase you for payment, and in a more ethereal sense, shows you as a company that is responsible and true to your word.
- Build a good relationship with your suppliers rep, but at the same time be firm and fair with them as well as other sales reps taking too much of your valuable time.
- Don’t push rush orders onto your suppliers, this can create tensions and put them on the back foot with their current supply.
- Make sure to refer faulty and damaged supplies to your supplier quickly, not only does this help them give you a better product, but might also help them catch faulty products before they’re sent to other businesses.
Next, some of the benefits of keeping them happy:
- More efficiency and communication – the longer you and a supplier work with each other, the better understanding you’ll gain of each other’s systems and processes. This means grey areas rapidly reduce, systems are built around the processes each company uses and therefore, more efficiencies will build.
- Reduced costs – Often, as a supplier and business build a relationship, they’ll be reluctant to go their separate ways as not only does this cause a lack of income for the supplier while they find a new client, but there are often substantial costs associated with marketing, tendering, negotiating and even exiting a contract. This means you can use your leverage to reduce costs with them. If you are consistently growing as a company, this also means you’ll begin to buy in larger and larger amounts, creating a bulk order discount. A good example of this is a carpenter starting his own business and growing – the larger and more regularly he orders Timber Flooring, the larger discount they can give him as they know he’ll be a good customer. One trick that will lessen your load? Invest in supplier performance management most especially if you deal with a lot of suppliers in your business.
- Outsourcing – At times, if your relationship with a supplier is good enough, you may even be able to outsource specific functions to them such as sourcing materials, logistics or supply chain management.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas of why and how you should keep your suppliers happy, and even if it hasn’t sparked an idea yet, why not just shoot them a quick friendly e-mail to your rep asking how they are doing?
John is Managing Director of Cotter Marketing, Ireland’s leading manufacturing product distributor. They specialize in the supply of Gaskets and Vacuum Pumps to some of the biggest pharmaceutical and manufacturing brands in the world.