Happy Suppliers leads to Happy Customers
In the supply chain industry, suppliers are one of the most important parts of supply chain management. Without them, businesses can miss out on vital inventory, leaving customers disappointed and losing sales.
Therefore, keeping suppliers happy by forming a strong relationship is a crucial part of a procurement officer or managers’ role. You may get access to better wholesale costs or be considered a priority when it comes to stock shortages and resolving issues.
A good supplier/purchaser relationship means you may have better access to higher quality or harder to find items. Access to quality goods is a key factor in developing a successful business and keeping customers happy.
Tips for building a positive relationship
Keeping suppliers onside starts with great rapport. Make sure to:
- Be friendly and polite in your interactions
- Ask them about their weekend or remember personal things they’ve mentioned such as their children or a favourite sporting team
- Make sure to always deliver on promises
- Be quick and easy to communicate with
Remember, you are just as important to your supplier’s business as they are to yours. A positive working relationship is beneficial for you both.
Regular communication is key
Make sure to keep in touch regularly, even if there are no pressing issues to discuss. A weekly or fortnightly wrap-up via email or phone call is a great way to maintain your rapport, ensure everything is running smoothly and keep on top of any new developments.
You may also want to implement face-to-face meetings (once a month, for example) to cement your relationship and discuss any current issues or future plans. If this isn’t possible, Skype or Zoom are great tools to keep connected with your suppliers in different locations. Make sure to include other members of the team too, so everyone is on the same page.
Remember to keep in mind any potential time differences when communicating with suppliers – 11 am your time might be when they’re usually heading off for the day.
How supplier relationships help everyone
Gaining and retaining effective working relationships with your suppliers is important to all procurement professionals, but why?
Without a positive relationship, you risk high supplier turnover, causing you to spend precious time constantly looking for new suppliers. You have to start from scratch with each supplier, getting to know them and how they operate. Also, customers may react adversely to stock changes, which can result in customer dissatisfaction, and lost sales.
If your suppliers are leaving because of a negative experience with you, this can make it difficult to source new suppliers in the future. As a procurement professional, your reputation within your industry is important for a successful career, so make sure to maintain your professionalism.
Sticking with regular suppliers that you trust saves time and money for everyone involved in the business. A lack of quality suppliers may mean the business can no longer operate successfully, potentially leaving you without a job.
Becoming a qualified procurement professional
Are you interested in stepping into the procurement industry? A career in procurement is ideal for those already working in retail or analytical roles, as well as customer service, human resources, accounting, and more.
A Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB50120) will equip you with all the skills required to begin your career and ensure you have the necessary people skills to keep suppliers, staff and customers happy. Learn from courses about managing supplier relationships, managing risk and facilitating continuous improvement, to graduate with a well-rounded knowledge of the industry.
No experience? No worries. The Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB50120) is a comprehensive diploma with both core and elective units, to make sure you are qualified, confident, and job-ready for a career in procurement.
Procurement and purchasing can be rewarding and satisfying career paths. Understanding how to maintain your supplier relationships and having strong communication will see you through to success in these fields.