Building Relationships with Suppliers


To get the most success out of your vendor management process, you need to take a strategic approach to building and maintaining relationships with your best vendors. Good suppliers are hard to come by, so it’s important to nurture your relationships with the suppliers you don’t want to lose.

Share information and priorities: For your vendors to effectively meet your needs to the best of their ability, it’s important for you to provide the necessary information in a timely manner. This might include launch dates, changes in design, forecast information, and other pertinent information that might affect quality or service.

Allow strategy and innovation: When you and your vendors work together on strategy, you can get the best value for your money. Invite the vendor to meetings that involve the product he is working on. You hired him because he’s an expert in that area so he could provide valuable insights or innovative suggestions that make the product better or even cheaper, which could give you a competitive advantage.

Look to the future: Short-term relationships with vendors will only lead to short-term gains and marginal cost savings. The real value comes from building partnerships for the long terms. Doing so will enable trust and commitment from your vendors, which could lead to discounts, preferential treatment, and access to expert knowledge.

Focus on win-win agreements: You won’t be able to build relationships with strong-arm negotiation tactics. Instead, you’ll create resentment that can lead to further problems down the road. Focus on negotiating agreements in good faith that allow both parties to walk away feeling good about the deal.