How to Manage your Suppliers in an Effective Way

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One major part of the business is to manage your suppliers effectively. Whether you are a manufactured goods business, food and drink business or a car washing service, all of these businesses require suppliers in order to run and function. However, some businesses may require many suppliers, like technology firms and others. Some may require only one, but no matter how many suppliers you have it is vital to keep them on your side. But how can you do that? This article will attempt to answer all your burning questions on this matter!

Choose your Suppliers Wisely

If there are multiple suppliers looking to produce your products, this is a luxury when it comes to the world of business. Take your time, evaluate the pros and cons of each of the businesses and then come to a decision then. Look at everything, from the response time to your emails or callbacks, to the price they are offering and the capacity of their production lines. The time taken now will save time in the long run, because your careful consideration will have more chance of picking the right supplier. Rushing into things may be a costly business for you in the long term and may lead to you needing to change suppliers halfway through production which is not an ideal move.

 

Also, leaving enough time to choose and evaluate and communicate with different suppliers allows you to build a bond with the right one. You want to grow with the supplier with the help going both ways, as it could be a long term business relationship if you choose the right supplier first time round.

Use Effective Communication

Another way in which a successful relationship can be struck between two companies is good communication. In any relationship, business, romantic, friendships, the main reason for their breakdown is a lack or breakdown in communication. To engage in the right way and to deliver information such as timelines and numbers, there needs to be communicated to the supplier and reciprocated communication from the supplier to you. Without this, the business partnership will be destined to fail, maybe not right away but down the line. 

 

If something on your end changes, like timeline or launch days, then the first person who should be contacted is tour supplier. This could lead to major changes for the supplier, as if they supply other companies too, they would need to change their slots and inform those companies also of any changes. Likewise, the supplier needs to contact you if they encounter can changes on their side, as things like strikes, lack of materials and more could influence, speed up, or delay the production of your products. 

 

Lastly, do not use communication as a subtle way of testing your supplier. If there is a deadline that needs to be filled, tell them. Do not ask them to guess the day or give them a period, give them exact figures that you need to be fulfilled.

 

Understand the Supplier and their Business

Something else you must take into account is the business themselves. Take time to really understand the supplier, how do they work and what is their culture? Does it align with yours? What is the business model or operating procedures that they have in place? Do do not need to know everything about them, but having an understanding of how their business works give you a better understanding of their company values. By knowing the values, you can see the challenges that they may have to face as a business, how do they deal with them? Will this make them more or less flexible as a company? And most importantly how will these impact your business. These are all factors that you really need to take into account when you are thinking about your suppliers. 

Have a Plan B

This is a key point in all business functions, not just for suppliers. Always having a plan B is the best, well plan, to have in any situation! Anything can derail a plan, for example, political changes, regulations, offenses, losses, or any other factors could stop or alter a plan, so having back up is the best option. 

Where are the Suppliers?

An important part of engaging with suppliers is where they are based. For example, you may be based in China and need to import products from overseas. There are many materials online that can help you learn about how to import from China so make sure you search for them! Or, it might be the other way around, you may need to import products into the UK or the US or somewhere in Europe from China. Every country will have its own laws and regulations about imports and exports, so make sure when you are deciding on a supplier, that you research deeper into this topic, as these tariffs could be the make or break of your business. 

Pay Your Bills 

If you engage in a partnership with your supplier, you expect them to fulfill their side of the partnership. However, on the other hand, they also expect you to fulfill your side of the bargain. By paying them on time, you are giving recognition to them that you respect the work that they do, and this, in turn, will make them more willing to produce your products.

 

Stay Flexible as a Partner

Flexibility is a great asset in the world of business. As said previously in this article, things may happen that need a plan b, or a change in strategy. However, remaining flexible on a day to day basis just means that you need to be flexible in adjusting to day to day changes or challenges that may arise. 

Work on building your Relationship

Lastly, build a relationship with your supplier. A long-lasting business partnership will be the best outcome of choosing the right supplier. The benefit of this is that both companies will know each other inside out, so they will know what is right and what each company needs. They also will have guaranteed trust, that each side will comply with what they promised when entering the contract, so in turn, it will help both businesses long term.