Managing Suppliers

As you customer base grows and your business starts to succeed, you may need to change the way you work with suppliers.

To build long term success you need a supply chain that gives you the right product, at the right time and for the right price.

Review your existing suppliers. You may have too many, creating work and making it hard to control costs. You may have too few suppliers, putting you at risk if they do not deliver.

Also most businesses experience peaks and troughs in sales, so flexibility is essential.

Choosing the right supplier for your business involves five processes.

  • Think Strategically

What is most important to your customers? If getting orders out is key, look for a supplier who can deliver faster.

  • Check it out

A supplier who lets you down could lead to you letting your customers down. They need to deliver consistently.

  • Pay the right price Remember that cost is not the only criterion; be sure that the price you agree will give you the service you expect.
  • Work together

If your business is important to your supplier and their service is important to you, both of you are likely to get what you want.

  • Keep talking

A good supplier will discuss your needs to make sure they are giving you the best service and let you know if they cannot deliver as expected.

  • Check them out

Financial reliability is important and you need to make sure that a key supplier will not disappear overnight. The better payment group offers advice on how to credit check your supplier, including using credit agencies, bank and trade references.

Once you have a good supplier you must develop a strong relationship with them if you want the best value.

Here are some tips:

  • Make personal contact with the people managing your account; getting to know them will help you understand how they work.
  • Place your orders as early as possible
  • Pay on time

This will make your custom key to your supplier and you may be able to negotiate a fast turn-around or special discount.