A good approach with regards to suppliers is that you must always include them in your business plan because every company offers a product or service that will rely on suppliers. As a business owner or manager, you need to find a reliable supplier, and when you do, you need to treat them with the utmost respect, and vice versa. A couple of examples for when you will need suppliers are; running a café; you will need someone to supply your coffee beans, drinks, and savoury foods. Another example is owning a doctor clinic or aged-care facility; in this case, you will need more substantial suppliers that cater to healthcare equipment. Suppliers are required anywhere and everywhere!
The relationship between you and your suppliers is extremely important for a solid foundation in business. Work as hard as you can on your relationships with stakeholders and then build them up. Be loyal to your suppliers; they are a big part of how your business grows and maintains success.
How suppliers can impact the company
Customers view your reliability based on time and quality. Time deliveries are essential to a quick turnover, which can become the key to minimising all of your inventory. This translates to lower cash needs and reduces the risk of inventory obsolescence.
Suppliers can give you a one-up on the competition that is based on the quality, pricing, reliability and technological breakthroughs.
Your suppliers are capable of making many significant contributions to all the new development products. The good ones will be able to completely understand the company and its needs also the industry where it can then help to tweak new ideas. For instance, going back to the aged care facility owner, a company who supplies the latest technological hospital mattress will have a competitive advantage.
If you have proven to be a loyal paying customer, then you may be able to take advantage of additional financing from your suppliers if you happen to hit a cash crunch. This may be in the form of extended terms on the newest products and postponed debt or even investments into your company.
How can you be a valued customer?
You need to be the customer that people want. There are a few things you need to do to be that valued customer to all of your suppliers.
Here are some examples:
Paying on time
You need to pay on time, and this cannot be repeated enough. You can always negotiate for special payment terms when you go to place an order, but once the order is placed, you cannot then go back on the rules. If you cannot pay, don’t just ignore the fact. Call the supplier and explain the situation ad let them know when you will be paying.
Give good lead times
Give your suppliers plenty of time on orders. Unless there is a good reason not to, then you should share with them a projection of your requirements and keep them afloat with changes. When you give them lead times, it can help to provide them with more knowledge about production needs and methods.
Add the touch to the relationship
You can visit the supplier’s workplace and always include them in strategy meetings, and when you have office parties or have a work break-up, then you can invite them.
Share relevant information
Ensure you are keeping the suppliers up to date with what is happening within the company. New products, key personnel, special promotions all need to be given to the suppliers, which in return they may repay the favour and give your details to new suppliers and customers.
It is complicated to keep a good relationship with your suppliers and manufacturers treat them fair, be loyal, pay on time and communicate much like maintaining friendships.