• April 25, 2020

Tips for Revamping Your Vendor Relationship Management

  • By Mark Hudson

Vendor relationship management written on asphalt

Vendor relationships are essential. Obviously, happy customers are beneficial for any company, especially if you expect to be in business for many years to come. However, you shouldn’t forget the importance of your vendors and maintaining those relationships. Whether you’re an established company or an up-and-coming business, vendor relationship management is crucial for both growth and long-term success. The right tools can definitely help, but some basic principles always apply.

1. Understanding

It’s easy to get blinded by your own daily demands. You can’t build a relationship without getting to know someone, which takes time and effort. There’s no need to learn every intimate detail of the vendor’s business or operations. Instead, try to get a fairly good overview. A robust understanding of what they do and how they do it should give you a realistic perspective in terms or what they can and can’t be expected to reasonably deliver. This can temper your expectations, so you aren’t being unrealistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for disappoint or back you vendor into a corner. No one enjoys being set up for failure. At the same time, this gives your vendor a chance to better understand your company as well.

Be sure to have multiple contacts for each vendor. People in different departments perform tasks and tackle problems in different ways. Don’t rely on one person for everything. That’s a lot of pressure, and they can’t be expected to answer every question or solve every problem. Your software should be able to track these interactions and retain appropriate details.

2. Communication

Frequent communication is never a bad idea. Granted, you don’t need to call or email every single day. Instead, simply touch base with them on occasion and stay updated. Good communication is the key to every productive and rewarding relationship. Be certain that you keep you vendors informed about your business plans. They should understand your priorities and problems. Staying up-to-date is a surprisingly easy way to avoid surprises and even prevent major hassles. A small issue always has the potential to become larger if it isn’t solved quickly. In your software, you can list activities or update your calendar so you stay in touch.

3. Accountability

Every relationship is a two-way street. You can’t work at your best if your vendor performs poorly, but the same is true for your vendor. Identify your project requirements in advance, be aware or your deadlines, and stay organized. Constantly updating orders or demanding a rush on items or materials will stress you out and put unnecessary or unreasonable demands on your vendor. Your purchase orders shouldn’t be a source of trauma for anyone involved.

Blocks stepping upwards spelling Vendor

4. Pay Promptly

This probably goes without saying, but you may be surprised by how frequent a problem this is for vendors. Do everything you can to ensure that you pay promptly. On time is good, but ahead of schedule is certainly even better. Granted, those occasions will probably be rare, albeit appreciated. Log invoices as bills as they arrive, and set aside time to pay bills. A consistent schedule ought to help you avoid any accidents.

Quality supply chain software can certainly be a big advantage here. Having all of your contact information and documentation in one place makes life significantly easier. Contact CBX Software at (858) 264-1133 if you have any questions or would like to learn how the right software promotes better vendor management.

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