How to Build Successful Supplier Relationships


3BuildSupplierRelationshipAre you tired of arguing with your supplier every time you’re about to receive your order?

Does your supplier repeatedly do the following:

  • Deliver wrong products more often
  • Overcharge you on the invoice
  • Take time to send a quotation
  • Send you incorrect delivery notes
  • Deliver your products late

If your supplier does the above and more, cutting ties with his business shouldn’t be difficult, should it? But wait, have you ever wondered why all the suppliers you choose keep repeating the same mistakes?

At present, innovation is a key supply chain trend, and buyers (businesses) want to see signs of this from the suppliers they work with because it could be what gives their business a competitive advantage.

One of the reasons why the mistakes keep happening is because your business doesn’t use a purchase order software that aligns your company with that of your supplier. Technology has made this possible by creating easy-to-use purchasing processes that connect you with your supplier. It enables both of you to be on the same page and gives you a better handle on which products are out of stock or not.

Poor supplier performance affects small and medium-sized businesses in the following ways:

  • The poor quality of products that you buy from your supplier affects the quality of your customer service and the products sold to customers.
  • Poor deliveries from your supplier can chase away loyal customers to competitors.
  • Late deliveries impacts on how you serve your customers.

In some cases, supplier relationships breakdown because you believe that, as a buyer, you are in a dominant position, therefore entitled to make unreasonable demands. For instance, asking your supplier to deliver asap without considering his delivery schedule. Such conduct does not help build a strong relationship with your supplier, instead, it jeopardizes it.

Additionally, in order to have a quality buyer-supplier relationship, your supplier should view you as a valued buyer, not a forever “disgruntled buyer”.  

Supplier’s flexibility

A supplier plays an intermediary role by buying products from the manufacturer and selling them to companies. This may mean that your business will wait for days for a delivery. Flexibility can change all that in this way:

  • a flexible vendor can negotiate with a manufacturer to prioritize your products; and
  • you can provide customizable delivery solutions, for example, allow customers/clients to change their order quantity anytime they feel the quantity is incorrect.

Some tips you can use to build a successful buyer-supplier relationship.

  1. Know your supplier


Make an effort to understand your supplier by doing some background research. Gain more understanding by going to your supplier’s website, talking to his existing customers, and visiting his office(s) and ask questions.

Electronic directories may help you to search for suppliers easily. But how many are compatible with your business? You end up with a long list of vendors selling a variety of products. This is when you pour yourself a cup of coffee and go through the list to find your perfect match!

A compatible supplier should:

  • Have a squeaky clean reputation because a vendor with a bad reputation can spoil your company’s image.
  • Take responsibility for the quality related problems of the goods delivered and work towards addressing them quickly.
  • Have a proactive attitude.
  1. State your delivery timelines clearly

It’s basically impossible that your supplier will predict when you’ll need products delivered unless you communicate your delivery needs clearly.  For example, if you are in retail, alert your supplier about all promos you intend to run in the next three months. Doing this will help suppliers plan their deliveries perfectly.

  1. Be your supplier’s friend

It has been scientifically proven that people enjoy working with people they like. Once you establish this kind of friendship with the supplier’s sales representative or whoever the relevant decision maker is, your business is likely to enjoy superior service. Communicating regularly and effectively can also help blossom a guarded relationship into a friendship. But again, friendship is something that happens naturally, it cannot be forced, so don’t try too hard.

Tweet this: An efficient purchase order software will connect your business with that of your supplier in a magical way.

  1. Be reliable

Remember that you can’t expect your supplier to be reliable if you are always late with payments. But, again, you can’t pay on time if your orders are delivered late, right? So to avoid that situation you’d need to ensure that both you and your supplier can rely on each other to meet agreed upon targets and dates.

  1. Find an efficient purchase order software!

An efficient purchase order software will connect your business with that of your supplier in a magical way.  Late deliveries, duplication of orders and opportunities to defraud are all minimized when you employ a purchase order software.

A dedicated online purchase order software like puts you and your supplier on the same page. You’d be able to view every single step of processing a purchase order. Plus, your employees can load purchase orders into the software and attach quotations or invoices. This will help your business to purchase products faster.

With you can:

  • Generate purchase orders and route them for approval
  • Send approved purchase orders to suppliers for an efficient, paperless process
  • Match invoices and purchase orders to validate price, quantity, and items
  • Track all matched invoices against the purchase orders until goods are delivered.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for a free trial today. Get rid of the paper-trail hassle with inclusive online reporting that eliminates fraud.

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