The Key to Supplier Management: Build Lasting Relationships


Behind every successful business is a list of suppliers they rely on to perform. The success of the company is as much down to the suppliers as it is down to the company; for instance, lengthy delays from a supplier can have a knock on effect to your customers. It is imperative that you have good supplier management systems in place so that your business can operate as intended. There are a few ways to encourage good supplier management.

Build up a Relationship

The key to good supplier management is maintaining a good relationship with them. Maintaining good relationships with your customers is universally acknowledged as the cornerstone of a successful business. The same is true for suppliers. In order for a supplier to understand and work to meet your needs, and for your business to understand the workings and operations of your supplier, a good working relationship needs to be built up between both of you.

SEE ALSO: 5 Point Checklist for Supplier Selection

There are many ways to encourage a healthy relationship. Regular communication between both parties ensures information sharing about the other’s operations. This may be in the form of regular update meetings for example. Another way to sustain good supplier relations is to align your objectives with theirs. Although you are two separate businesses with different needs, seeing objectives from another’s perspective can make things as easy as possible for the both of you.

Monitor and Analyse for Good Supplier Management

As important as good supplier relationships are to supplier management, you need to combine this amicable relationship with cold, hard facts and analysis to get the best results. Supplier performance needs evaluation so consistency is maintained. At the same time, any fall in performance or quality needs following up on in spite of risking the relationship.

There are a few ways of implementing this. Firstly, monitor your suppliers and collect data on the speed of delivery, quality of goods etc. This can easily help you analyse supplier performance, and can give them evidence for any lapses in quality you observe. Another option is to use supplier management software. This can perform more medial tasks for you, helping you communicate with your suppliers by informing them of any changes to your work, as well as quantifying their performance. Software can be a great way of managing many suppliers at once.

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