How to Develop and Maintain a Supply Partnership [Quick Guide]
Working with suppliers to produce and distribute products entails a lot of collaboration and communication. When it comes to supply chain relationships, you and your suppliers’ goals should align. The more you work in unison and the more you cultivate good relationships with your supply partners, the better the results will be for your business.
Therefore, establishing a collaborative and trustworthy supply partnership is crucial for a viable business. This ultimate guide walks you through how to navigate these connections.
How Do You Develop a Supply Partnership?
Like any relationship, growing supply partnerships require reflection and honesty to find the right match.
1. Find Suppliers with Common Values and Goals
A one-sided relationship never works. Both parties must have similar values and goals in order to achieve success. It also helps maintain peace of mind, ensuring that the right team is by your side. When common ground is established, trust rises.
Take time with your team to reflect on what you’d like to achieve as a company and write down those goals. For example, you may want to start strategizing a sustainability policy. Then you would seek out suppliers who either seek to do the same, or already have social and environmental regulations implemented within their operations.
Be sure to also collect the needs of each department before finalizing your plan. Compile these goals and develop a supplier presentation to present to potential partners. By taking time to think about your values and using them to guide you to suppliers, not only will you foster genuine connections, but those connections will be customized specifically for you.
2. Meet Them Face-to-Face
Meeting with your potential suppliers in-person will provide you with a comprehensive look at what they do, how they operate, and how their business will benefit yours. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to build closer relationships. This is also a great time to give a presentation and/or inform them of any product or operational changes.
3. Conduct Negotiations
Recognize what the supplier wants and is willing to accept. Moreover, identify what you are willing to accept from the supplier’s end. You want to make sure that the needs of both parties are being met in order to mitigate any business risks. Conduct these negotiations and build a standardization process.
How Do You Maintain a Supply Partnership?
Developing a supply partnership is one thing, but it takes as much or even more effort to maintain that connection. Once you’ve partnered with a supplier, it’s now time to plan out strategies on maintaining that relationship. Failure to put in effort will only degrade the strong foundation that you’ve initiated.
1. Share Real-Time Data
In order to maintain a collaborative relationship, you need to share your supply chain and inventory data with your supplier. This can be done through an analytics tool. By having access to your information, suppliers can effectively make data-driven decisions with you based on insights that they are seeing.
2. Share Decision Making Strategies
Mutual effort and decision making must be shared between both parties. You must improve processes and streamline workflows together. If one side is making all the decisions, it deteriorates transparency and trust. Moreover, it encourages miscommunication to rise in the workplace. When leadership fails to collaborate and finalize details, there’s confusion among employees, which permeates through to customers.
3. Strategize Plans for the Future
Any successful supply chain should look ahead and plan. This involves identifying and mitigating risks. Not only does this allow time to innovate road maps that work for both of you, but it allows you both to build a long-term relationship.
Future planning helps suppliers gain a more thorough understanding of the business that they serve. As a result, they’ll be able to meet your needs more effectively. Alignment is key in establishing long-term sustainability and growth for businesses.
4. Be Patient
Last but not least, be patient. Strong company-supplier relationships take time to build. Don’t be discouraged if you feel there are multiple hoops to get through in the beginning. Be sure to constantly communicate and collaborate; it’s these actions that will bring rewarding results down the line.
Avetta understands that building a strong supply partnership is crucial in setting up your business for success. Learn more about what Avetta can do for you through enriching tools that bring together corporate operations and suppliers.