How to Form Positive Supplier Relationships

Positive supplier relationships are crucial

Why is it important to build good supplier relationships?

Suppliers are one of the most important parts of supply chain management. Without them, businesses can miss out on vital inventory, disappointing customers and losing sales. Therefore, keeping suppliers happy by forming a strong relationship is crucial to a procurement officer or manager’s 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 with a supplier

Keeping suppliers onside starts with great rapport. Make sure to:

  • Be friendly and polite in your interactions
  • Ask them about their weekend
  • Remember personal things they’ve mentioned, such as their children or a favourite sporting team
  • 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.

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Regular communication is key

Keep in touch regularly, even if there are no pressing issues. 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 monthly or quarterly face-to-face meetings to cement your relationship and discuss current issues or 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 team members too, so everyone is on the same page.

Remember 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, resulting 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 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.

How to get work in procurement

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, or accounting. 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 about managing supplier relationships, managing risk and facilitating continuous improvement, to graduate with a well-rounded industry knowledge.

No experience? No worries. The Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB50120) is a comprehensive diploma with both core and elective units to ensure you are qualified, confident, and job-ready for a career in supply chain management.

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.