Powerful Connections

Building Strong Partnership with Suppliers

14 March 2024


Welcome to our Coffee Chats session focused on ‘Building Strong Partnerships with Suppliers’! Today, we will delve into various strategies aimed at fostering effective relationships with our valued suppliers. So, let’s grab a cup of coffee and explore how we can work together to strengthen our partnerships.

Many organizations want their suppliers to perform at their best, offering competitive prices, quality products, and reliable service. However, here’s something that often gets overlooked: businesses rely heavily on their suppliers, and sometimes the suppliers don’t see the business as important as we might think.

While certain organizations may believe they deserve special treatment due to their reputation or size, it’s crucial to understand that suppliers operate within a broader context. Factors such as limited resources, geopolitical tensions, and intense competition can swiftly disrupt supply and demand dynamics. In today’s interconnected world, organizations don’t have as much power to demand services and must compete for important materials and expertise. It’s essential to understand that suppliers aren’t just thankful for the business anymore. They’re smart partners who evaluate the value they get from working with your organization.

The Move Towards a Partnership-Centric Approach

The way suppliers conduct business with your organization is no longer just about meeting your expectations. Their experience when interacting with your organization is equally important. Recognizing and adapting to this shift in perspective is crucial for building strong and sustainable partnerships with suppliers.

So, what exactly do suppliers look for in their customers? Well, there are a few key aspects that consistently rank high on their list. First and foremost, suppliers value effective communication, collaboration, trust, and partnership with their customers. They want to work with customers who are reliable and consistent, someone they can truly rely on. Timely payment of invoices is also crucial for suppliers as it helps them manage their finances and operational expenses smoothly. Moreover, suppliers may be interested in customers who show potential for growth, as it can open new business opportunities for both parties. Additionally, some suppliers appreciate customers who are open to collaboration and innovation, willing to explore new ideas together. It’s important to note that suppliers may prioritize these factors differently based on their industry, size, and specific business objectives. However, understanding and aligning with your suppliers’ expectations and needs remain essential for a successful and mutually beneficial relationship.

By embracing this partnership-focused approach, we can foster collaboration and drive growth in ways that traditional transactional methods simply cannot achieve. This approach recognizes that suppliers bring much more than just goods or services to the table – they also offer valuable expertise, innovation, and market insights. Additionally, it acknowledges the importance of considering the supplier’s perspective as a vital component in building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

Building A Positive Supplier Experience

When it comes to creating a positive supplier experience, it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street. How suppliers are treated directly impacts the strength and longevity of the customer-supplier relationship. When suppliers have a positive experience, they are more likely to prioritize the customer’s orders and needs. This involves providing excellent service and support, offering competitive prices and terms, maintaining open and clear communication, and being willing to collaborate and find innovative solutions. On the other hand, if suppliers have a negative experience, it can lead to deprioritized orders, delays, higher costs, disputes, and strained relationships.

Creating a positive supplier experience doesn’t just happen by chance, and it can’t be achieved through occasional communication. It takes a strong supplier relationship management strategy with clear objectives and a well-thought-out plan.

It also requires building personal relationships with suppliers to establish trust and foster mutually beneficial partnerships. This may involve involving suppliers in collaborative efforts to develop new ideas or important initiatives. Furthermore, leadership needs to be actively engaged, ensuring that the team is aligned with the program’s goals and understands the value it will bring to the organization.

When suppliers were asked what makes for a strong working relationship with an organization, they consistently pointed to communication as the top concern. It’s essential to prioritize open and transparent communication, always seeking feedback to address any issues or areas for improvement.

In addition, suppliers highlighted collaboration and innovation as their second highest priority when it comes to improving their relationship with important customers. It’s crucial to involve suppliers in decision-making processes and actively seek their input on product innovation, development, and optimizing the supply chain.

It’s interesting to note that fast or on-time payment ranked lowest on the survey’s priority list. However, it’s still crucial to follow fair and ethical business practices, which include making payments on time and honouring contractual agreements.

Prioritizing and actively managing the supplier experience is a strategy that benefits both parties involved. It not only strengthens long-term relationships but also leads to improved supplier performance, cost savings, and better collaboration.

In conclusion, organizations that prioritize and invest in creating a positive supplier experience are well-positioned for sustained success in today’s complex and interconnected business environment. By fostering strong relationships, enhancing collaboration, and promoting ethical practices, they can adapt to market changes and maintain a competitive advantage in the long run.