Listen to the cry of your suppliers
“The buyer is the king!” True, but if you sit in an ivory tower with little regard to your supplier, you will shut down your business.
Your goal is to utilise suppliers to drive down costs, improve profit margins and enhance product quality and flow. That means defining clear expectations of service and product quality and having a process to make sure they're upheld.
When buyers and suppliers work together they both benefit from operational efficiencies and can better achieve their objectives.
Below are suppliers’ cries that strain the buyer-supplier relationship;
“Interior design is not in our scope but we can’t refuse the opportunity”
The first step to take before engaging with any supplier is to go through his past and current projects and to investigate his knowledge and experience in relation to work at hand. Knowing the supplier beforehand helps to create and build healthy relations.
“They want us to buy a new truck specifically for their meats”
Belonging to a different culture may give rise to different views and interpretations while having the same conversation. Deal with suppliers who understand your culture.
“I requested for a meeting several times but they are too busy”
Communication is absolutely necessary for many aspects of the business. If a supplier doesn’t understand the company’s strategic goals that may not fulfil your needs and requirements adequately. Maintaining a good contact with the suppliers can benefit the organization in a big way.
“I was told my PO was signed but someone is sitting on it”
Many times, non-transparency of the process creates gaps in the company-supplier relationship. Technology can play a crucial role to fill this gap for a complete procure-to-pay process.
“They are not ready for a demo of our new product”
Suppliers continuously innovate on behalf of the buyers. They do this to help you improve product quality and bring down costs through efficiency. As a buyer it important for your research and design team to work hand in hand with your suppliers.
“They have given us an order but we have to deliver in an hour”
Suppliers deal with many organizations at once. Often the order is delivered late by the supplier because of the unavailability of the product. These type of late deliveries can weaken the relationship. Forecasting the requirements of the company can help in running the SRM process smoothly.
“They asked us to offload in the open space then it rained”
At times, the delivered product turns out to be damaged or flawed. Aggressive steps at such times can ruin a relationship. One should notify the supplier respectfully and ask him to replace it. A healthy balance is to be maintained while taking steps against suppliers who are underperforming.
“I don’t know why the want that design”
If the supplier doesn’t understand, what the company wants its customers to experience through their products, he won’t be able to provide enough supplies or the right standard. They should be given appropriate training to ensure buyer expectation is met.
“We are prequalified but they don’t send us request for quotation”
A healthy relation only nurtures when the two sides stay together for long.
Abandoning the suppliers at the time of success may create stress in a relationship. To avert this, one should include the supplier at every milestone and success celebration of a company.
“I will collect the PO but I can only deliver next month”
Many times if there is no recognition and encouragement, the supplier becomes disloyal to an organization. Changing the supplier is not the solution here as it will consume more time and money. Look for causes of disharmony in your relationship and take corrective action.
“They want more than they bargained for”
Signing a biased contract can be very unpleasant for the supplier. One should make sure that the contract has benefits for both the sides. A win-win! Many organizations are now realizing the importance of Supplier Relationship Management. Efforts have to made on a continuous basis to build harmonious Buyer-supplier relationships. SRM is a long-term approach to sustained success.
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